Choice Outstanding Academic Title in Reference and Humanities for 2019
“Bloomsbury Popular Music (BPM) is a truly unique popular music resource that provides an easy-to-use interface along with valuable content for researchers,” wrote Ginger Williams for ccAdvisor. With uses ranging from introductory music survey courses through graduate-level research, BPM would be an excellent resource for academic libraries that support music and performing arts curricula. Larger public libraries with extensive research collections and a local interest in fine arts or cultural studies may find this resource suited to their needs as well. Easy to navigate and fun to use, BPM is a scholarly database with an innovative, intuitive design.
The content is predominantly popular music from Western traditions. The breadth of world music coverage is notable, however, as the resource offers a wealth of information about genres of music that “are popular in countries and communities all over the world.” The content could support students and researchers in a variety of fields related to popular music. Not peer-reviewed but certainly scholarly, the content is a satisfying mix of encyclopedia entries and ebooks supported by interactive features. Content from the “33 1/3” series of brief books about particular albums is excellent in depth and insight—for example, like other volumes in the series, The Pixies’ Doolittle by Ben Sisario is informed by interviews with the band. “Although these are deep dives any fan would enjoy, the “33 1/3” books are valuable to researchers of popular music as well,” Williams wrote. “DRM-free access to these works provides for a user-friendly ebook experience often lacking in databases.”
J. Stoehr, CHOICE
'Searching is easy and there are quick links to featured content, an interactive world map, a time line of popular music and more. A good choice for academic collections supporting music, culture, and performing arts studies.'
'Not unlike early CD releases that were slapdash reissues of vinyl pressings, some online resources were quick to cash in on the desire for online access to print materials at the expense of doing it well. Bloomsbury Popular Music is the equivalent of the deluxe remastered reissue.'
'Overall, the site is clean and visually appealing. Rather than just presenting users with a search box, the home page gives an overview of specific content and how it is organized, and it includes photos and other graphics. The combination of human and machine indexing draws users logically to related content with clear paths.'
Notes (MLA), September 2019 (Read the full review here)
'Bloomsbury Popular Music is a truly unique popular music resource that provides an easy-to-use interface along with valuable content for researchers.'
'This is a scholarly database with an innovative, intuitive design ... Easy to navigate and fun to use, this resource’s content could support students and researchers in a variety of fields related to popular music.'
The Charleston Advisor, January 2019
'BPM’s efforts to engage with the possibilities of a digital platform are both laudable and enjoyable.'
'The timeline and map […] emphasis[e] the joy that comes of unexpected connections thanks to the transparency of networks created by BPM’s metadata categories. Databases like BPM that recognise the potential of the digital humanities to speak to digital natives are versatile and invaluable teaching tools […] offering new avenues of research and study for academics, musicians, and students alike.'
‘Bloomsbury Popular Music features a clean, pleasing interface of hot pink and black against a white background.
Library staff will appreciate the “for librarians” link, which offers easy access to administrator functions, subscription information, MARC records, and promotional materials.
A number of characteristics make this a browser-friendly resource (…) Researching is easy—the search bar is present at the top of every page, and the header includes only the most relevant topics. (…) Below the search bar, users will find a changing array of featured artists, genres, and countries, prompting them to learn something new with each session.
Especially helpful is the brief content summary in the middle of the page, which includes links to browse the digital books or navigate the “about” section for more information (...) The World Map and Timeline are unique and significant resources for academics.
Bloomsbury Popular Music is highly recommended for academic libraries with a focus on music, offering a user-friendly platform that is invaluable for studying music around the world.’
Library Journal, July 2018
On Volume IX:
' ... a well-respected popular music encyclopedia. (This volume) provides comprehensive articles and references on Caribbean and Latin American popular music genres that will be useful to music researchers in this field.'
Elizabeth Berndt-Morris, Library Journal, 2018
On Volume XI:
‘(…) a major reference work in its own right, (the editors) are to be congratulated for having produced a work that, clearly for themselves as well as many probable readers expert and novice, academic and professional alike, is a labour of love – and a distinctive insight into an ever-changing and exciting musical field.
Stuart Hannabuss, Reference Reviews, 2018
Review for Future Nostalgia: Performing David Bowie, by Shelton Waldrep
‘In conjunction with his multifarious theoretical examination of performance, Waldrep’s interdisciplinary approach is a key strength of this book. He draws from, and contributes to, the disciplinary fields of performance studies, cultural studies, art history, visual culture, music criticism, gender studies, and disability studies (…) Like the lyrics of a Bowie song, Waldrep’s tangential threads drew me in and opened up new cultural and intellectual pathways. Such is the strange fascination of Bowie studies.’
Lisa Perrott, Cinema Journal, 2018