For most professional DJs, the go-to hardware is from Pioneer, the Japanese digital entertainment product giant that started as a radio and speaker repair shop in Tokyo in 1938. The company made some of the planet’s best CDJs, machines that played CDs but had a “vinyl” mode that let artists scratch and play as if they were using a record player.

The company has not only kept up as CDs gave way to MP3s but still dominates the industry with hardware that’s on the wish list of every young disc jockey with dreams of playing clubs in the big city. But while good hardware is a must, if your music is digital, good software is perhaps even more important. And, like nearly everything these days, music and mixing are moving to the cloud.

The company’s latest upgrade allows those with the “creative subscription package” to centralize their music management – playlists, tracks, and metadata – via the cloud. But the actual music is stored in a Dropbox account.

Why Dropbox? The explanation given has to do with integration. One of the first file-sharing apps to make it big, Dropbox is great for seamless use between platforms. It’s clearly the file-sharing app you want if easy third-party integration is a priority for you. With everything moving to the cloud at breakneck speed, that’s what you need to find out: your priorities.

There are so many great cloud storage options to choose from, but what’s important to the collaborator or DJ may be less important than the rigid privacy perhaps needed by a banker or others with sensitive information.

If office work is your main priority, it’s hard to beat Google. The web giant has Google slides, forms, meet, docs, sheets, chat, drive, and many more services… all available for a “Business Plus” subscription of US$18 per month. But, in case you haven’t noticed, Microsoft has come roaring back with OneDrive, described as “a file hosting service and synchronization service operated by Microsoft as part of its web version of Office.”

People who had soured a bit on Microsoft and found the fees for purchasing Office anywhere from “a bit steep” to “outrageous!” are being forced to concede that OneDrive is an awfully good service. Available in 107 languages – including Hindi – it’s fully integrated with Office 365 and they give you 5GB free (Google, however, gives you 15GB free).

It’s clear Microsoft heard the complaints of early adopters (OneDrive, you might be surprised to learn, was first launched in 2007) and a re-tooling in 2010 and the latest upgrades from 2019 have made a huge difference. If you’re in the MS corporate universe, a OneDrive subscription is likely the choice for you.

We’ve touched on the big names: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive… but what about up-and-coming players? Which companies are starting to make names for themselves in cloud-based apps? Well, actually, one of the more interesting alternatives isn’t new at all. IDrive has been around since 1995 but is making a mark with its cloud services as you can send IDrive files through Facebook and Twitter.

IDrive also automatically retains the last 10 versions of a file, so if someone in a collaborative project messed something up, you have quite a few backups to choose from. The services start at US$52+ a year for one user, unlimited devices, and 5TB of storage. And of course, there are corporate options that offer unlimited users, computers, and servers, plus 250GB of storage.

As we’ve seen, plenty of providers offer huge amounts of cloud storage for extremely attractive prices, but for a real glimpse into the future – one coming perhaps sooner than some think – we should turn to advances in artificial intelligence. AI is set to revolutionize the cloud… and that will include how we store things in it. The ramifications will be massive.

Soon the game won’t be between which provider gives more space for what price, but rather who has the better AI. For big firms, an AI in the cloud will keep an eye on workflows and help manage and even automate them. In the private realm, it sure would be nice to have, say, a cloud storage AI organize your folders. Disorganized photo collections might become a thing of the past – facial recognition tech that could help with that is already being used by some storage firms.

Finally, while we noted the free amounts of storage many companies offer, it’s worth considering selecting one to subscribe to. The hassles that melt away when you have, say, 500GB at your disposal are worth the price. Try making a list of the most important things you want from a cloud storage provider, and you’ll start to get a feeling for which option might work. Then, look at your budget and pick the winner. Trust us. “Owning” a nice chunk of space in the cloud is a worthy investment.