Sure, there's a chance you've backed up your libraries using the device's software, or lodged them in the cloud (the remote digital storage facility that you can access, in theory, from any device or computer), but what if you haven't?
You might not realise how much you've spent on music through iTunes over time, but at around 99p a track, a fully-loaded iPhone you haven't backed up would be a terrible and costly thing to lose.
Even if you have
gadget insurance, the policy will probably only cover the handset itself and not the masses of content you have stored on it.
Some insurers will cover digital downloads as part of your
home insurance policy - but is it worth it when you could be backing everything up for free in the cloud instead? The insurance option
Just as you might include your priceless (or sentimentally valuable) vinyl collection in your home contents insurance, there's often an option to insure your less tangible music collections too.
But each insurer handles digital downloads insurance differently, so it's important to shop around and choose carefully if you're taking this route.
For instance, MoneySupermarket research found AXA Insurance only covers digital content for up to £500, whereas LV= and Direct Line cover up to £1,000 and Hiscox offer covers up to £2,500 per incident.
Some insurers also make distinctions between downloads you make on your smartphone and those you make using your home computer or other entertainment devices, so it's important to carefully check the wording of the policy, particularly if you download most of your music on the go with your smartphone.
- Did you know? The average person has almost £1,200 worth of digitally downloaded music, films and/or software stored on hard drives (according to MoneySupermarket research in 2010).
The cloud option
The cloud is a term being thrown around a lot these days. In essence, it means saving your data (photos, documents or music) in a secure account on someone else's servers.
It also means you can access that data from anywhere, in theory. If you were to damage your hardware, your data would be safe because it isn't just saved locally.
If you've downloaded your music via a service like Apple's iTunes and you're signed up to the iCloud service on your iPad, iPod or iPhone, a copy of each track you download is saved to your account in the cloud.
If you were to lose your device or damage your device, you'd be able to download it all again from your purchase history in the cloud at no extra cost.
Apple, Google, Amazon and many other companies offer cloud-based services, which are free to a certain extent. You can read more about them all in Les Roberts' article:
Ahead in the cloud?
Most cloud services will give you a free allowance, beyond which you'll have to pay for a premium membership and extended storage. For example, Dropbox gives you 2GB storage for free, but then charges monthly or yearly fees to upgrade to 50GB, 100GB or 1TB+ accounts.
An obvious concern is the security of your data, as you hand it over to the servers of a third party. The mainstream cloud service providers boast some of the most robust security in world, but there have been lapses.
Hackers stole the account details, including credit card information, of more than 100million gamers using the Playstation Network last year and popular cloud storage provider Dropbox suffered a glitch which exposed the accounts of 25million users last year too.
If you're using cloud storage, you might want to exercise caution with any sensitive details when synching your data.
Did you know? - The concept of cloud computing and storage has been around since the 1960s, but we've only had bandwidths capable of supporting it since the late 1990s. External hard-drive
A relatively cheap option is to back everything up from your computer to an external hard drive. Memory tends to get cheaper each year and you can now pick up an
external hard drive with almost 1 Terabyte of storage (1000GB, or 0.97TB) for as little £69.
Of course, you'll still be faced with the laborious task or backing up your data regularly, and the hard drive can still be damaged lost or stolen.
Did you know? - Hard drives may be cheap and portable now, but in 1956 IBM launched a hard drive as big as two fridges costing $50,000, with just 5MB of storage.
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