Digital storage

During the pandemic, your group may have started to produce more digital content for online rehearsals and other projects that you will need to store and share online with your members. So where can you put all this new content safely?

There are lots of online ‘cloud’ storage solutions that can help you with storing content. Cloud storage involves saving your data with an online third-party service that you can access at any time (as long as you can access the internet). You can also give other people access to it, so rather than emailing large sound or video files they can ‘collect’ them from the cloud storage. Think of it as a digital storage unit that everyone in your group has a key for.

This is useful for

  • giving you a permanent backup in case your computer crashes;
  • freeing up space on your computer, making it more efficient;
  • sharing digital files easily with other members of your group;
  • accessing these assets from different devices and from any location.

How big are the digital files we create?

You may have heard the term ‘rich content’. Rich content refers to photos, audio, and video. These types of files hold lots of complex information in comparison to a simple Word document or PDF. The richer the content, the larger the file.

  • Audio = large (rich)
  • Photograph = larger (richer)
  • Video = largest (richest)

Digital file size is measured in;

  • Kilobytes (KB)
  • Megabytes (MB) 1MB = 1000 KBs
  • Gigabytes (GB) 1GB = 1000 MBs
  • Terabytes (TB) 1TB = 1000 GBs

Here is a very rough idea of how big digital files are and how much storage your group might need:

  • 1 minute of audio = 1MB
  • 1 photograph = 10MB
  • 1 minute of video = 100 MB
  • 1000 minutes of audio = 1000 x 1MB = 1 GB
  • 100 photographs = 100 x 10MB = 1GB
  • 10 minutes of video = 10 x 100MB = 1GB

How much storage do I need?

The amount of storage you need will depend on the type of digital files you create. As you can see, if your group is producing lots of video files then you’ll need to look at a substantial amount of storage. You might record the audio for all your rehearsals and performances or take thousands of photographs each year, so factor this in before you choose your cloud.

Can I reduce the size of the files I create?

By adjusting the settings on your phone or tablet you can reduce the size of the video, photo, or audio files you create. Chances are your video won’t be appearing in a cinema so the quality can be adjusted, reducing the number of frames per second will reduce video size considerably. If you don’t intend to print your photographs then you can afford to reduce the size of the photograph using the phone’s settings. However, if you’re working with a digital producer, ask for some advice in advance before you reduce file quality, as you can’t add it back in once it’s gone!

Should I rename my files?

If you are uploading files from your PC or laptop you will have the option to name your files before uploading. Agree on a naming system with your group e.g. ‘full name_instrument_musical piece’ will reduce the chance of overwriting existing files and will help people identify them later.

How do I transfer my files to the cloud?

You transfer files to the cloud by uploading from the device they are saved on (e.g PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone). This is normally done by selecting ‘upload ‘in the cloud storage platform, then searching for and selecting the file on your device. Most platforms also offer a ‘drag and drop’ option. The time it takes to upload will depend on the size of your file and the speed of your broadband connection. Upload speeds are normally ⅓ – ½ the download speed so factor in some time if files are large (video) and perhaps upload late at night or early in the morning when others in the house aren't using broadband.

Who can have access?

All platforms allow you (the account holder) to control who has access, and what level of access, to the cloud storage platform. Exactly how it works, and the terminology used, varies from platform to platform, but generally:

  • Admin access – means the user can set up folder structures, upload files, and give other people access. Most platforms allow you to have more than one administrator, but some limit exactly how many. Anyone with admin access will need to have their own login to the platform
  • View only – means the user can access the cloud and download and upload content, but they can’t do admin tasks or edit content. They will need to have their own login to the platform
  • Upload only – some platforms allow you to send a link to an individual so they can upload documents to your cloud. They might need a login for this but some platforms don’t require one.

What’s available?

All in one - storage and office software

These options mimic the folder structures you may be familiar with on your PC or laptop and also offer word-processing, spreadsheets, presentation, and other ‘office type’ software.

Service Google Drive OneDrive  (Microsoft) iCloud (Apple)
Storage costs 15 GB = free
100GB = £1.56/month

5GB = free
100GB = £1.99/month
1TB = free for students

5GB = Free
50GB = £0.79/month
200GB = £2.99/month
2TB = £6.99/month

Access You will need a Google account– they are free to set up. You will need a Microsoft account– they are free to set up. You will need an Apple ID/account – they are free to set up.

Just storage

These cloud services give you a familiar folder structure like Google or Microsoft but don’t offer additional Office-type products.

Service Box Dropbox BT Cloud
Storage costs

10GB = free

100GB = £4/month

2GB = free

2TB = £7.99 month

All BT Broadband customers are given some free storage depending on their subscription; 10GB, 200GB or 1,000GB

Access Sign up for an account Sign up for an account Log in to your My BT

Dedicated to particular media

Some sites dedicated to photos or audio-only also offer additional editing features as well as folder and tagging features to let you search and share your items easily and efficiently.

Service Flickr  (Photos) Google Photos Soundcloud (Audio)
Storage costs

1000 photos = free

Unlimited = £47.88/month

Unlimited storage for photos 16 megapixels or less and videos of 1080p resolution or lower = free

15GB storage for uncompressed audio and video = free

100GB = £1.56/month

3hr total upload = free

Unlimited upload = £7.50/month

Access Sign up for an account Sign up for an account Sign up for an account

We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.