With the status of SoundCloud up in the air, artists everywhere are wondering what’s going to happen to their files if the whole thing blows up. The good news is that about 150 volunteer programmers calling themselves the Archive Team are taking action to make sure that none of the precious files are lost. The organization launched a SoundCloud initiative and has indicated that it will begin making copies of its files as of yesterday.
From all indications, the Archive Team is doing this with the best intentions, but it does bring up some some interesting questions. Since this appears to be unauthorized by SoundCloud, will the company be in a position to sue the Archive Team for copyright infringement? How about if you’re an artist. Do you want some organization that you don’t know to make copies of your files?
The organization has already indicated that it won’t be able to back up all the files, so how will it decide which ones are worthy? Amazon Web Services points to SoundCloud as a case study and states that the company currently stores about 2.5 petabytes of data (or 2.5 million terabytes). That’s a lot of storage space for an indie organization to have to pay for, probably more than can be expected under the best of circumstances, since it’s estimated that the cost is somewhere around $3.5 million per year.
You would hope that most artists using SoundCloud would have enough notice to look for another online host should the worst happen, and many artists are doing that already. That said, there are also those who pay more attention to their music than to business that are probably oblivious to what’s going on. Certainly there’s nothing wrong with that approach as long as someone is minding the store, but this looks like a situation that may not get better. The sooner artists look for an alternative to have a Plan B in hand, the better.