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Bloomsbury Popular Music

Choice Outstanding Academic Title in Reference and Humanities for 2019

From acid house to zydeco, and from Acapulco to Zanzibar, Bloomsbury Popular Music provides unrivalled scholarly coverage of modern popular music worldwide, covering the mid-20th century to the present day. It is an ideal resource for students and academics across disciplines including music, ethnomusicology, the performing arts, media and communication, cultural studies, anthropology and sociology.

  • Explore the historical origins and cultural impact of popular music from almost every country in the world
  • Discover more about influential artists and albums, and local music scenes and subcultures
  • Learn about everything from musical form and instruments to the workings of the music industry
  • Research the social, political and economic context of different musical genres

About the Content


Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World

The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, over 20 years in the making, is a landmark reference work in its field, edited by John Shepherd, David Horn and Dave Laing. When complete, it will comprise 14 volumes, with ongoing updates to volumes already published. Contributions are authored by top scholars and experts from around the world, and include extensive discographies and bibliographies.

Click here to browse the full reference set, or select 'About the Volumes' below for more information.



33 1/3 Series

“Some serious knowledge and passion has gone into these books … Both a fan and a newcomer could pick one up, learn something new and be thoroughly entertained.” — Japan Times

33 1/3 is a series of short books about popular music, focusing on individual albums by artists ranging from James Brown to Neutral Milk Hotel. Each album covered in the series occupies a specific place in music history, so each book-length treatment takes an individualized approach. 33 1/3 is widely acclaimed by fans, musicians, and scholars alike.

The Global 33 1/3 Series takes the 33 1/3 format of short, album-based books, and brings the focus to music throughout the world. With initial volumes focusing on Japanese and Brazilian music, the series will also include volumes on the popular music of Australia/Oceania, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and more.

Click here to see a full list of volumes.

Scholarly Monographs and Handbooks

The Bloomsbury Popular Music Studies list consists of an expanding range of scholarly books ranging from edited volumes to biographies to historical overviews, and that span genres, including rock, pop, hip hop, and punk. Titles include DIY Music and the Politics of Social Media by Ellis Jones, James Braxton Peterson’s Hip Hop Headphones, Not for You: Pearl Jam and the Present Tense by Ronen Givony and Felipe Trotta’s Annoying Music in Everyday Life.

Scholarly monographs and reference covering popular music around the world include An Anthology of Australian Albums, Encyclopedia of Latin American Popular Music, Musical Bows of Southern Africa and Popular Music in Japan. To find out more about popular music in a particular continent or country, use the world map search tool.

The growing Bloomsbury Handbook series provide a comprehensive overview and wide-ranging analysis of the key subjects and approaches in popular music. With contributions from leading international researchers, they give students and scholars a broad, detailed, and instructive overview of current research in the field. Titles include The Bloomsbury Handbook of Music Production edited by Andrew Bourbon and Simon Zagorski-Thomas, The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Video Analysis edited by Lori A. Burns and Stan Hawkins, The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music and Social Class edited by Ian Peddie and The Bloomsbury Handbook of Rock Music Research edited by Allan Moore and Paul Carr.

Research and Learning Tools

Bloomsbury Popular Music also contains a wealth of exclusive and specially-commissioned research and learning tools are designed with teachers, students, and researchers in mind.

  • Subject Guides which provide instructors, students, and librarians with a simple shortcut to help them find the material they need across a number of topics.
  • An illustrated Timeline of Popular Music back to 1900, including dates of 33 1/3 series albums, plus an overview of contextual events in musical and political history, with links to relevant articles.
  • An interactive World Map which enables users to navigate to books and articles covering a particular country or region that is most relevant to their work.
  • Artist pages including curated related content, and biographical information on hundreds of artists and musicians. The artist page biographies are written by André Diehl and Robrecht Herfkens, and will be added to over the forthcoming content updates.