Digital music longevity
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Every time I replace my computer, iTunes re-authorizes the music purchases I have made at the iTunes Music Store. I know that in the next few years I will replace my computer more than five or ten times. How can I preserve my purchased music so that I can listen to the music I bought in 2005 in the latest iPod in 2055?
First off, you’ve missed a very important feature of iTunes’ Digital Rights Management: you can deauthorize computers at your leisure. The five computer limit is merely a maximum number of concurrent licenses one can have activated. Before you replace your computer, simply choose “Deauthorize Computer” from iTunes’ “Advanced” menu. If you’ve forgotten to do so, iTunes allows you to deauthorize all of your computers at once from your iTunes Music Store Account Information page, although you can only perform this procedure once per year.
Despite this, the longevity of digital music is an incredibly important issue to discuss. Without careful attention, digital music is far less timeless than an old box of albums sitting in an attic or basement for years. Not only is there an enormous risk of the permanent loss of many files in a hardware failure, but files can become corrupt and codecs are sure to become obsolete over time. The maintenance of a digital collection will become an important task for long-term collectors.
What can you do to protect yourself from loss? Inevitably, the answer lies in a bulletproof backup system. Although you can copy your music from your iPod back to your computer, don’t treat your iPod as your sole music library backup method. Instead, be sure to conduct regular backups of your library to DVD or alternate hard drives. You can never choose too many methods; with backups, security lies in redundancy.
In an added tip, keep at least one backup set physically stored away from your computer. This way, you’ll have your important data and music in the event of theft or loss of your home.
For further reading, iLounge has published a Complete Guide to Backing Up iPod & iTunes Music.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Spotify penalizing artists who release Apple Music exclusives
- Apple releases new round of iOS 10 and tvOS 10 betas
- Report: 2017 iPhone to eliminate home button
- Apple to add payment technology to iPhone for transit passes, Apple Pay in Japan
- Apple releases iOS 9.3.5 ‘security update’
- Report: Apple developing its own Snapchat-style social video editing iOS app
- Apple announces Apple Music Festival lineup including Alicia Keys, Britney Spears + more
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- Western Digital My Cloud (OS 3)
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app