Have you ever wanted to listen to a track you’ve purchased and downloaded some time back only to discover it isn’t in your library?

With digital rights issues and hard drive errors it pays to back up your music – A lesson i’ve been reminded of today when I tried to listen to Zappacosta‘s 80’s Canadian rock classic “Nothing Can Stand In Your Way“.

I believe I had originally purchased this song years back from the now defunct Puretracks music service, well prior to that service’s closing in the fall of 2013, and although it is on my MP3 player it disappeared from my iTunes library because it had been purchased on a previous windows operating system based computer and the digital rights had likely expired before I had noticed.

Unfortunately I had encountered this issue a few times but was able to copy music back from my mp3 player into my library or copy the music from old CD or DVD backups of these recordings to the original media. And this issue is why I kept my hard copy collection of compact discs, cassettes and LPs, to restore music from if someone happens to the recordings on my computer and mp3 player.

As a precaution I make backups of my music (and films and audiobooks) to an external hard drive and other media. And I suggest that you consider doing so as well as Apple transitions from iTunes to the new app, if you use that service as I do.

You can also convert recordings off that service into mp3 or buy mp3s from Google Play, which takes care of some of the digital rights management issues some people have been encountering. But even then you should back up your media because of losses that can happen due to hard drive errors or other more complex issues one can have with mp3 players, phones, tablets and computers.

Yes, you could stream music to some of these mobile devices instead from services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play Music or Spotify. But data rates are expensive in Canada and public wi-fi is preferably used with VPN due to security issues. And sometimes specific tracks aren’t available on those services or suddenly disappear due to distribution issues.

I use some of these services at home, to keep from using space on my mobile devices, and prefer to use my mp3 player when I travel. But if I couldn’t I would probably get a micro-sd card and copy my music to it for my tablet, which is cheaper than paid internet access and less spotty than public wi-fi, which can be a pain when you’re trying to look at music videos on Youtube.

Your best bet is to always download and backup your media, to avoid having to contact a customer service representative that might be busy handling calls from other people whose access is also down, or might not be available due to the streaming service’s limited business hours.

I was quite happy to find the previously mentioned recording on an old writable CD-Rom I had burned years back and you should probably consider the possibility of this issue happening to you in the future.