# Storage of material from CD's and DVD's: cloud?

Gold Member
The question is from a friend of mine who is computer-incompetent; I am only computer literate on a daily-citizen level (can follow instructions from software but never learned to read or write code). Although I cannot sit down at his computer with him (he lives in the US, about 11000 km from me, and TeamViewer scares him), he can probably find someone to follow through on any advice that I pass on to him from this forum.
The situation: he has a large number of CD's and DVD's with music and films that he wishes to put onto some more accessible medium, say USB storage devices plus putting them in a cloud service that is likely to be around in 20 years time. His laptop does not have a drive for CD/DVD, and anyway we are talking over a thousand discs, so in order to store them he would prefer to pay to have it done from him (I would probably just buy an external drive and pay some school kid, but he prefers a reputable established service), so he was wondering if there are services that do this and if so, how to find them; furthermore, he is looking for recommendations for the best cloud service (not necessarily the cheapest) for such a situation. (He managed to put some of them on iPods, but apparently it is against the law to copy from iPods.) Any recommendations?

Homework Helper
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I have done something like this with a large music collection (no DVDs) of over a thousand artists and a much larger number of their albums. I can tell you that this is a very imperfect world, especially when it comes to identifying CDs of oldies. The internet will often suggest a few matching album titles and you must pick the right one to get the correct song list. It takes a lot of time and patience. I don't know if any automated process will satisfy your friend. A reliable school kid may be your best bet.

Mentor
For music cds you could get a new laptop with cd drive and just rip them to the hard drive and from there backup to an external drive or multiple drives for better backup.

Gold Member
thanks, FactChecker and jedishrfu. Buying them all again, even if he could find them, is not for him an acceptable option; jedishrfu's other suggestion reverts to the problem of time and patience, even with a new laptop, brought up by FactChecker. So, time to look for a patient kid who doesn't charge too much. Anyway, supposing he finally solves that, this leaves the second part of my question: recommendations for cloud services?

Homework Helper
Gold Member
I should clarify that the problems are with oldies. I don't remember any problems with the internet not being able to identify more recent music CDs.

DrZoidberg
CDs can store about 700 MB, DVDs 4.7 GB. So with 1000 discs you are looking at somewhere between 0.7 and 4.7 TB.

Google Drive charges $10 per TB and month. But you have to upload everything there. Uploading just 1 TB at e.g. 10 MBit/s takes 12 days if your PC runs continuously. That would mean 2 months to upload 5TB. You could store everything on an external hard disk. You can get 4 TB for$100. But then you need at least two HDDs to have a backup in case one of them brakes.

Homework Helper
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My music collection, with over a thousand albums, takes about 120 GB.

Gold Member
Thanks for the clarifications, DrZoidberg and Factchecker. Hm, I see there will be problems. We are talking mostly about oldies; the cost of USD 10 per month is reasonable but the upload time is annoying -- the music collection, as both of you point out, would be the smaller part of the volume, but the films would stretch it out considerably. I guess a couple of external hard disks is the optimal solution, with hopes that cloud upload technology improves within a reasonable amount of time. As far as services available, even with the present technology this definitely seems like a market gap.

Mentor
CDs can store about 700 MB, DVDs 4.7 GB. So with 1000 discs you are looking at somewhere between 0.7 and 4.7 TB.
My read of the OP is that these are the original disks, so they have little or no compression. DVDs can be compressed about 4:1 with no noticeable loss and CDs about 10:1.

Don't go cloud, unless you travel too often. Buy an external (CD/DVD) drive and start archiving with the most frequently used ones. Don't forget to make a redundant copy.
Sooner or later the 'rest' will drop to an amount that you will feel like finishing the job.

You better keep the original ones since they are the proof of ownership.
The cloud is too 'young' to be safe by my opinion, and also: due some copyright issues (cloud is often used to share content) I think it'll be sooner or later subject of a purge. And your content actually would be... Well.

Klystron, FactChecker, nomadreid and 1 other person
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Thanks, russ_watters and Rive.
---russ_watters, you are correct: they are original disks. Please forgive a layperson's naïve question, but how does one go about compressing it in the process of uploading to a computer -- or is this done in the computer before then transferring it to an external hard drive?
---Rive: precisely the problem is that my friend does move around a bit because of his profession, and hence the idea of a cloud was tempting, but you have echoed his precise misgivings about clouds -- but not being sure, he asked my advice, and I don't know enough to evaluate the cloud situation -- hence my post.

It is fine to have the cloud as an 'immaterial' storage place, accessible everywhere (where internet is available), but I would keep an offline copy of everything.

Mentor
---russ_watters, you are correct: they are original disks. Please forgive a layperson's naïve question, but how does one go about compressing it in the process of uploading to a computer -- or is this done in the computer before then transferring it to an external hard drive?
CDs are totally uncompressed and when you "rip" them they are compressed on the fly by the software you use. DVDs are already slightly compressed, but their file structure is a bit awkward, so you need to "rip" them as well, and I'm not certain if the software does that in one step these days. It used to be kind of involved, but I'd hope by now it is easier. I haven't done it in a while though.

For compressing CD material: Invest in dBpoweramp: It is not expensive and it compresses as many tracks as you want from each CD - and stores the final result where you want it to be.

Gold Member
Thanks, russ_watters and Svein . I will pass all this info to my friend and help him check out the software etc. Thanks also to other contributors; all this has been a great help; any other hints that anyone wants to pass on will also be appreciated.

Regarding compression and such I suggest you spend some further time on experimenting and asking around, since it is easy to end with a 'tenth of the original' kind of mp3 heap - what is pretty useless I think, given the 'lossy' nature of that format...

Ps.: Sorry, was no offense intended (I've just noticed this part late), but 10:1 is really too much, for music. Around 3:1 or 4:1 can be done with lossless formats as I recall, and worthy music worth that much I think.

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Gold Member
Solved a similar problem in 1990's using older "jukebox" tech. Music aficionado played dozens of CD's per work day. Workstations on local networks but prohibited from connecting to Internet. Solution included a programmable CD/DVD rack that selected media based on a playlist. Music fan periodically swapped recordings, mostly commercial but some mixes, in the jukebox.

I realize this skirts the main questions of information transfer and cloud storage but provides private access to stored media.

Mentor
Ps.: Sorry, was no offense intended (I've just noticed this part late), but 10:1 is really too much, for music. Around 3:1 or 4:1 can be done with lossless formats as I recall, and worthy music worth that much I think.
None taken, that was just off the top of my head. When cd ripping was new, 128kbps was "standard"(and so were 400MB hard drives), but I ripped mine at 160. I never noticed any issues, but now 320 is somewhat common. CDs are 1411 kbps, so that's 11:1, 8.8:1 or 4.4:1

Yeah, when the whole mp3 business fired up the price of storage was still relatively high and size did matter. I still has some 32M memory cards from that time.

Also, I admit that the whole quality matter is controversial, especially since popular music often created/mixed so that there is not much loss with low bitrate compression. But since storage is so cheap these days, we prefer lossless for (quality) music.

Guess it depends on personal preferences.

Gold Member
Compared to the OP my music fan was insanely computer-competent, also an acoustic purist. Playing music from digital media was a sacrifice for the workplace. Dude duplicated analogue record collection from home. Never satisfied with digital playback quality. Had waveform analysis to prove it.

A USB connected DVD/CD Read writer is only $30-40. I know it is a PITA - but I highly suggest that he do it himself: 1) Automated systems butcher the file / album structure. They split albums into 3 sometimes 4 different albums due to author or artist credits on the tracks. 2) The way he will want to access the songs, albums, genre - is very personal, and I have never found a good way to just feed them and rip them without editing each album, and trying to set them up manually after the fact is more difficult ( IMO). 3) Sound quality - also personal, pick a few albums and find the best set up ( non-compressed, compressed and then which compression works with his set up or various set ups - etc) 4) When he learns top do it himself ( it is really not difficult) - any errors or rework he can correct on his own. For 1000 CD - I would probably go ahead and get my own drive. Some standalone drive may have cloud back up included, or included free for a year. Do 10 maybe 20 of his favorite albums and then look at how they are set up - and if that will work before proceeding with the entire library. As for the sound quality - well that is a a whole other topic, but if you have not invested in half decent speakers or headphones, it really is not that big of an issue - Almost everything today is mixed for high compression, and IMO - all sounds like mud. And it seems impossible to get a player to play a classic album - and not chop it into tracks. nomadreid and Klystron Gold Member Windadct: thanks for the great tips. I will pass this along. (Unlike me, however, my friend doesn't go in for the classics, so probably track-chopping is probably not fatal for him. He is more for rock from 1960-1990.) Telling someone who hates computers that anything on a computer is not difficult is however an uphill battle, but maybe he can find some patient soul to help him. Windadct Ha -- Rock in the 60s and 70s is what I am talking about: Tommy, The Wall. Dark side of the moon, Beetles - etc... nomadreid, russ_watters and Klystron Gold Member Er, Beatles... Windadct Science Advisor Gold Member Watch out for DVD writer drives. Many (most) of them these days will fall back to a slow Write speed after the first 30 seconds of recording a disc. They are still advertised as 48x, etc but that is only the beginning write speed. For mass amounts of writing, look for drives that are promoted for "Copy Use" or similiar, they don't have the throttleing and maintain the writing speed. They can sometimes be purchased as replacement drives from manufacturers of bulk copying equipment. I suspect this speed throttleing was from pressure/payoffs from the music companies to cut down on pirated copies. Sure is a pain in the behind for computer users! Cheers, Tom nomadreid Gold Member Excellent tip, Tom.G. Thanks! Tom.G Science Advisor Watch out for DVD writer drives. Many (most) of them these days will fall back to a slow Write speed after the first 30 seconds of recording a disc. They are still advertised as 48x, etc but that is only the beginning write speed. For mass amounts of writing, look for drives that are promoted for "Copy Use" or similiar, they don't have the throttleing and maintain the writing speed. They can sometimes be purchased as replacement drives from manufacturers of bulk copying equipment. Eh - those high-speed drives spin with a constant rotational speed, not a constant "linear" speed as the standard specifies. Therefore the writing speed (calculated as a linear speed) varies with the distance from the center of the disk (v=ω⋅r). Science Advisor Homework Helper Gold Member I don't recommend storing large amounts of data on DVDs. Large collections would require a large number of disks and any updates, backups, copies, etc. are a hastle. USB drives and thumb drives are so convenient that they offer many advantages. When I first got my collection on my computer hard drive, I started putting backups on CDs, then on DVDs, but it got to be overwhelming (there were no high capacity USBs back then). When I switched to removable USB drives, it became much more managable. Tom.G Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor As far as services available, even with the present technology this definitely seems like a market gap. Why do you say this? The cloud is happy to store the data. The problem is that someone has to insert 1000 disks. The fact that you can't find a service for this is a consequence of the fact that it is time consuming, labor intensive, and thus expensive compared to what people are willing to pay. Assuming 90% CDs at 5 minutes each and 10% DVDs at 20 minutes each, you are talking 100 hours. At$15/hour that's $1500, the cost of about three years worth of storage. Science Advisor Gold Member The problem is that someone has to insert 1000 disks. That part is a solved problem. 'Juke Boxes' have been around for decades, as have 'Disc Duplicators' that take a stack of discs and feed them as needed. It is currently a problem of finding the service bureaus that market that service. over 200,000,000 finds with: https://www.google.com/search?q=digital+media+transfer+service+-video (Hmm, maybe finding them isn't a problem after all) Cheers, Tom Mentor over 200,000,000 finds with: https://www.google.com/search?q=digital+media+transfer+service+-video (Hmm, maybe finding them isn't a problem after all) Cheers, Tom One from the google has a good narrative description of the types of requests they get: http://www.leavealegacytoday.com/digital-media I used a similar service to convert my grandpa's old 8mm home movies to DVD. That's one where I didn't have the needed equipment, but even if I did, it's still time consuming/labor intensive. It wasn't cheap, but I suspect CD-MP3 services would be because as you say, there's automation for that. Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor Sure. Who can afford a jukebox? If your answer is "not an individual, but a service", you now have the problem of shipping tens of thousands of dollars worth of disks, handling tens of thousands of dollars of disks, opening up 1000 jewel boxes, the insurance for what to happen if something breaks or is lost, etc. I'm not saying this is technically impossible - I am saying going outside is cost prohibitive. People expect the cost per disk to be measured in cents when in fact it is measured in dollars. Science Advisor Homework Helper Gold Member Sure. Who can afford a jukebox? If your answer is "not an individual, but a service", you now have the problem of shipping tens of thousands of dollars worth of disks, handling tens of thousands of dollars of disks, opening up 1000 jewel boxes, the insurance for what to happen if something breaks or is lost, etc. I'm not saying this is technically impossible - I am saying going outside is cost prohibitive. People expect the cost per disk to be measured in cents when in fact it is measured in dollars. There are plenty of services that offer this at less than GBP/USD 1 per CD including insurance in transit etc. Mentor I don't recommend storing large amounts of data on DVDs. Large collections would require a large number of disks and any updates, backups, copies, etc. are a hastle. I gave up using DVD-R's for archiving anything, at least five years ago. In addition to the reasons you noted, there's also cost. I used to buy good-quality blank DVD-R's in bulk online for about$30 per 100. At 4.2 GB per disk, that's about $0.07 per GB. At Walmart, I can buy 4TB Western Digital or Seagate external drives for$120, which works out to $0.03 per GB. Even when the$120 price point was occupied by 2TB drives ($0.06 per GB), they were a bit cheaper than DVD-R's, and took up a lot less space. I keep two duplicate sets of archive drives, so as to have a backup in case a drive fails. FactChecker elusiveshame I didn't read the whole thread, but here's my$0.02 on it: