About Rock's Backpages
Rock's Backpages, which launched in September 2001, is the world's most comprehensive online database of pop music writing, a unique resource unavailable elsewhere online. It contains an ever-expanding collection of primary-source full-text articles from the music and mainstream press from the 1950s to the present day, along with a collection of exclusive audio interviews.
Details of the database
- There are over 38,000 primary source articles on the site and almost 600 audio interviews. These feature over 6,000 artists and range from 500-word reviews to 15,000-word features.
- The articles are full text and fully searchable (by artist, date, genre, keyword etc.).
- Written by over 700 of the biggest names in music journalism, the articles draw on the widest possible range of publications in the US and UK: from Creem and Trouser Press to Rolling Stone, and from New Musical Express and Melody Maker to MOJO.
- The archive covers all types of popular music from the 1950s to the present: from Abba to Zappa, the Stones to the Stone Roses and from Elvis to Eminem. There are, for example, over 100 articles on Nirvana and over 300 on the Beatles.
- The library includes previously unpublished pieces about the Beatles (by Michael Lydon in 1966), the Doors (by Lester Bangs in 1975), and seminal interviews with major artists from Bob Dylan to Radiohead.
- We add over 50 new text articles and one audio interview to the library per week.
- All the material in the database is presented with the full agreement and permission of the copyright holders or their estates. The vast majority of this material is exclusive to Rock’s Backpages.
About the subscription service
- Rock's Backpages is provided as an unlimited-access subscription, with all end users enjoying unrestricted access to all content in the database.
- Users can sign up for a weekly email detailing the latest additions to the library.
- Access to the site is usually arranged via a specific IP address, enabling users to access the library through the group intranet without the need for a specific site password.
- We also provide access via Shibboleth, Proxy or Library Card. Remote access is included by default, with the database available on any device with an internet connection.
- Please refer to our Librarians' info page for the full access options.
Subscribe via Consortia
Rock's Backpages can currently also be subscribed to via the following consortia:
- Amigos Library Services – South Western States
- Califa – California
- Lyrasis - Nationwide
- Colorado Alliance – Colorado
- OhioNET – Ohio, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania
- SCELC – California
- WALDO – North East
- WiLS (Wisconsin Library Services) – Wisconsin
- CAUL (Council of Australian University Librarians)
If you are a consortium or distributor and are interested in working with Rock's Backpages, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“A highly affordable product with unique content.” – Gail Golderman & Bruce Connolly, Library Journal, April 2017
"This is the best resource we have ever subscribed to. It's had a great impact on our library, especially for younger users — you need this!" – Jo Guidice, Director of Libraries, City of Dallas
“Rock's Backpages is a valuable resource, because it's the only one of its kind that focuses on music journalism across all pop music genres from the past 50 years. It benefits not only music students and faculty, but those studying and researching journalism, history, English and pop culture. The inclusion of underground and street publications in addition to mainstream journals like Rolling Stone and MOJO make it unique.” – Lori Widzinski, Head of Multimedia and Music Collections and Services for the University of Buffalo Libraries, May 2017
“For the record, let me reiterate that this is an indispensable research tool in the study of popular music. I use it all the time, and assign it regularly to students at all levels.” – Robert Fink, Department of Musicology, Chair of Music Industry Program, Vice-Chair of the Faculty, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, August 2016
“RBP is an essential acquisition for large public and academic libraries serving serious students a wide range of music, from blues and country to jazz, reggae, and, of course, rock and roll.” – Library Journal, April 2014
“No student of popular music interested in doing substantive research can afford to be without Rock's Backpages. It's an invaluable tool and above all else a great treasure trove of sophisticated writing.” – Jason King, New York University
“We have found Rock's Backpages useful for those researching popular music for educational purposes as well as for leisure. With classic and contemporary articles featuring a range of artists from different genres, RBP is full of nostalgia for our older users and a valuable source of rock history for the younger ones.” – Rosemary O'Hare, Principal Librarian, Glasgow Life/Glasgow
“Rock’s Backpages is a well put together, reasonably priced and easy to use resource for music fans of all ages. It’s proved to be a hit with our customers and we are pleased with the usage statistics.” – Pete Aldridge, Events and Programme Officer, Peterborough Central Library
“Manchester Libraries have subscribed to Rock’s Backpages for nearly 4 years and we find the content to be informative and accurate. The site is user friendly, offers remote access and maintains good coverage. Current awareness is catered for by weekly alerts about recent updates. Manchester users have spread the word by leaving favourable comments on our Facebook page.” – Joanne Kettlety, Service Development Manager, Manchester City Council
“Rock’s Backpages has been an invaluable addition to the Syracuse University library. I frequently search its holdings for my own research. Beyond that, we teach a number of classes - ranging from the History of Rock survey to the Popular Music Studies seminar - where students have used Rock's Backpages to aid with paper projects and presentations. In addition, our numerous Arts Journalism students have found the site to be an amazing resource and introduction to the history of rock music criticism. I highly recommend this database.”– Theo Cateforis, Author of The Rock History Reader (Routledge, 2007), Assistant Professor of Music History and Cultures, Department of Fine Arts, Syracuse University