It wasn’t very long ago when we would burn through spindles of CD-Rs in the process of a recording project. Most studios even factored in the time and cost of the CD-Rs for the session. Thankfully, cloud storage has nearly eliminated that step and streamlined the process in a big way.
Here are some of the benefits to using a cloud storage service:
No media to recycle or dispose of.
No time wasted on the CD burning process.
Cloud storage apps on smartphones gives everyone instant access from anywhere.
Cloud storage is secure.
One shared location means updated files are updated for everyone sharing the folder.
Others sharing the folder can add files as well.
My service of choice is Dropbox, although there are others out there including box.net. Dropbox gives you up to 2GB of storage free and subscription plans for additional space. Your Dropbox cloud directory mirrors one that you keep locally on your PCs or Macs. Some folks don’t want to keep a local copy and find this to be a limitation, but I prefer this method for two reasons. First, you have access to your files even if your Internet connection is down. Second, you can additionally sync your audio and video files to your computer’s media player software in house. I do this by creating a playlist in iTunes and adding the bounced song files to it. As long as you don’t change the name of the bounced file (the name of the song), the iTunes playlist will always include the latest version. You can change the MP3 tags which doesn’t affect the file in the playlist. Now if you’re streaming music throughout your house using something like a Slingbox, Roku or Apple TV, you can easily check your mixes in other rooms. I do this by streaming to my Apple TV in the living room and listening through my consumer stereo equipment. This is a great real world test of your mixes. Accessing Dropbox on smartphones means that you can check mixes in any car that has an external connection. Apps are now available for iPhone and Android which make the experience a little cleaner, but you can always just use a browser and access from the web.
Dropbox has also come in really handy when working with musicians who are recording tracks in their own studio. A keyboard player on a recent project wanted to record on his vintage gear at home and not drag it to my studio, so he recorded his tracks and uploaded them to our shared directory in Dropbox where I could retrieve them and drop them into the session. This was beyond anyone’s imagination twenty years ago.