Information Technology Reference
iTunes Match and Music Backups
If you want extra backup insurance for your music—or if you want
to save space on your backup drives—Apple has a deal for you. As
long as you're an iCloud member, you can pay $24.99 per year for
a subscription to iTunes Match. This service ensures that Apple's
servers have a copy of every track in your iTunes library, and that
you can download or stream those tracks at will, from any of your
devices. (Although this works even with music you didn't purchase
from the iTunes Store—including music you recorded yourself—Apple
will store only 25,000 such tracks for you.) As a bonus, if the version
of any matching track in Apple's library has a higher quality than
what you already had, you can download the better version.
Using iTunes Match in place of another online backup service means
you'll save lots of time (and possibly money too), because in all
likelihood, Apple will already have copies of most of your music on
its servers. Using it in place of local backups is riskier (in that you're
relying solely on Apple's copy) but could save considerable storage
space on your external hard drives.
The only real downside (if you can call it that) is that you must keep
paying that $25 every year to maintain those copies of your music
in the cloud. To be honest, that seems to me like a pretty great deal,
especially considering that iTunes Match is valuable for much more
than backups of your music.
Use an Internet Backup Service
A second (or third) drive can be expensive, and all that swapping and
relocating drives can be a hassle. A different approach is to store your
secondary backup online, using any of several Internet backup services
that offer encrypted backups of large amounts of data at reasonable
prices. The idea behind Internet (or “cloud”) backup services is simple:
using either a conventional backup program or proprietary software,
you perform backups as usual, but with secure Internet file servers—
rather than local or network volumes—as the destination.