DJ Stylus The Vibe Conductor

Digital DJs, do you have a game plan for catastrophe?

It's inevitable

Hard drive failure.

Laptop failure.


Ever happened to you right before a gig?

Just a few short years ago it wasn’t uncommon to lose record boxes on flights. That’s a soul killing ordeal. Remember those check-in battles to carry your vinyl as a carry-on? Remember when you’d lose that battle and damn near have a heart attack waiting for your flight case to emerge at baggage claim? Now that most of us are partially or all digital, the convenience of our current tools sometimes makes us forget that tragedy can still strike.

I’ve read that A-Trak tours with two laptops. That isn’t practical for me, but I do have my music drive mirrored on an external that I bring to every gig.

But what if my laptop AND external drive fail? What if your main AND backup laptop get swiped?

Actually, before you proceed, you MUST read A-Trak’s account of one of the most confounding EPIC FAILS that any DJ could suffer, including a stack of dead Lacie drives. I hope no one is still under that illusion that Mac users are immune to this sort of suffering.

I don’t tour as much as many of my peers, but if I did, I’d look into online backup services. Imagine being on the other side of the world and your whole gig bag gets stolen. You can download a full clone of your hard drive onto a new machine and be up and running again quickly.

DJ Tech Tools has a nice roundup of these services with a helpful summary of all their features.


The comments in that article are even more informative. There are many different approaches to emergency proofing your data.

Of course, we all have multiple backups at home, right? RIGHT?!? They’re just no good to you on the road in an emergency.

What disaster avoidance schemes do you all have? There’s no way that any of us should have our asses hanging in the wind due to computer failure. We just have to prepare in advance and not be lazy.

3 Replies to “Digital DJs, do you have a game plan for catastrophe?”

  1. No doubt. That file factory is prob where it’s at. About 3 years ago my laptop crashed the day of a gig b/c the charger shorted out the motherboard. Since then I’ve had 2 laptops on deck. About a yr and a half ago, I put the wrong charger in my ext. HD and blew that joint up. Lost all my music. Since then, I keep 3 Ext HD’s on deck (one @ home), and I label my chargers. Thank God for a cousin who spins out in NY (@DJScoop) who blessed me with a re-up. Never had problems *fingers crossed* with viruses or anything like that. Always hardware issues with chargers.

  2. Hal

    Backing up data is truly a challenge. I find the best way to back up is using one of the online backup services.

    There are many such service providers out there. The best way to pick an online backup company is by Googling “Online Backup Review”.

    There are good review sites and read their rankings, ratings, features and so on, and then decide which one to pick.

  3. My Macbook Pro failed me by freezing intermittently during use… So much to the point that I couldn’t use it during gigs because it was too unstable. What I managed to do, since I keep all my .mp3’s on the laptop itself, was put all of my critical music into my dropbox folder, take my backup laptop (Sony Vaio), and sync that up… So now, my Vaio is pretty much a mirror of what I had on my Mac. I’ll do this again when I replace my Mac, as well…

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