Re-acquiring my digital downloads

A few months ago, I lost the entire contents of the NAS device that holds, amongst other things, my digital music collection. Whilst my ReadyNAS Duo had two disks in a RAID 1 mirror, they both failed simultaneously – and I haven’t found a cloud storage service to send a terabyte of data to yet…

(I have been researching cloud storage though – more on that in a future post, hopefully).

With no music in iTunes, I’ve been using Spotify a lot more (combined with the music that was cached on my iOS devices) but, tonight, I decided it’s time to start the long haul of re-ripping all of my CDs (a couple of hundred albums and about 500 singles…) – this time to somewhere that’s a little more secure.

Before I do that, I decided to start out by re-acquiring my purchased music.  With a couple of exceptions, this comes from Apple iTunes, or 7 Digital.  7 Digital is easy enough – it has a “Your Music” section from where I can re-download my purchases (all digital media sources should follow this model, in my opinion). iTunes didn’t used to be so simple though and I feared I may have to beg their support function to let me have my downloads back…

As it happens, that’s no longer the case as iTunes 10.6 and later allow purchases to be downloaded again from the iTunes Store (see Apple support article HT2519).  For those with a lot of purchases (or for whom bandwidth is at a premium), there is another option though – I used the various iOS devices that held cached copies of my purchases to restore parts of my iTunes library.

The details are in Apple support article HT1848 but it was as simple as connecting the devices, then selecting Transfer purchases from devicename (the computer was already authorised, but it now has a new iTunes Music Library). My apps and purchased music are being copied to iTunes as I type this post (note that this feature only works for items that were purchased on the iTunes Store – and note for any items imported from audio CDs or acquired from other sources).