General FAQ


What is DRAM?

DRAM is a non-for-profit, online music database dedicated to preserving and disseminating important musical recordings that may be difficult or impossible to obtain by other means. DRAM seeks to facilitate the research and listening pleasure of musicians, scholars students and casual listeners by offering on-demand, streaming access to an extensive and ever-growing catalog of essential music. DRAM's recordings are accompanied by liner notes and cover art and are keyword-searchable using a number of criteria, including composer, performer, and label of origin.


What does DRAM stand for?

DRAM initially stood for Database of Recorded American Music. However, as DRAM’s collection grew, it began to include many recordings from outside the Americas, making the full name insufficient to describe DRAM’s contents. As the name DRAM has become known in certain circles, we have opted to stop using the full name but to keep the DRAM acronym.

Who is DRAM's intended audience?

DRAM aims to make its collection accessible to any interested person at a subscribing institution. While we expect that musicians and musicologists will constitute a good portion of our user base, DRAM also includes materials useful to history, sociology and cultural studies students, as well as serious music aficionados and curiosity seekers. DRAM is also working hard towards making DRAM as useful and accessible a pedagogical tool as possible for teachers and librarians.

Who makes DRAM possible?

DRAM owes its initial technical development to the efforts of NYU, an initial grant from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and ongoing support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. DRAM also relies upon the support of our participating institutions, and we extend our thanks to each DRAM subscriber for helping to sustain our endeavor.

How will DRAM benefit my institution?

DRAM provides its users with immediate access to an important and rare library of music. The Database's holdings and features make DRAM valuable for pedagogical applications, including online course reserves and classroom use. DRAM's capacity to allow an unlimited amount of users to access and listen to music at any time and from any computer eases the financial and physical burden on libraries, and eliminates the supply and demand problems students typically encounter with course reserves.

Will DRAM ever have a selection of music akin to,, Napster, or Rhapsody?

DRAM works constantly to add to its library, but while you should expect the addition of more labels and music, DRAM will always remain a scholastic resource focused on hard-to-find yet culturally and academically important music.

How does DRAM decide which music to include?

DRAM's mission is to preserve and disseminate music of cultural and academic value that is difficult to acquire through the commercial marketplace. DRAM seeks out and collaborates with labels, archives and private collections sympathetic to this directive.

I have some materials that I would like to contribute to DRAM. How should I pursue this further?

If you have, or know of, a collection of music, interviews or film/video footage that you think should be  included in DRAM, please send a brief description of the materials  and a brief statement as to why they should be included in DRAM to for consideration.

Are MARC records available for the content in DRAM?

Yes. OCLC has created MARC records for the majority of DRAM's content. As we continue to add content to DRAM, we will continue to work with OCLC to have MARC records created for all new content, striving to release new batches of MARC records at regular intervals coordinated as closely as possible with the introduction of new DRAM content.

For more information on purchasing MARC records for DRAM, please contact your regional OCLC provider.

How soon after release are new albums available on DRAM ?

New albums become available on DRAM after a "moving wall" period specified by each label has passed.


Participation FAQ


Who may subscribe to DRAM?

Any educational institution of higher learning may participate in DRAM.

How can my institution access DRAM?

While anyone may view the textual content of the Database online, to stream music you must be affiliated with an institution which subscribes to DRAM. For further information on the participation status of your institution, or for more information on institutional participation, please contact us.

Is DRAM available to individuals?

At this time requests for individual access are being accepted through Sound American, an online quarterly publication of Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc.


Usage FAQ


How do I listen to music?

To listen to music on DRAM you must be a member of a participating institution. If you are, then simply select a track to play from any on-campus computer, or  access DRAM via your institution's library page from off-campus, which may require you to login as you would for other academic resources.

If you are logging in with an individual guest account and password, you should selected "New World Records" as your authenticating institution.

Can I download music to my computer?

We are currently unable to offer downloading from DRAM. We plan to include this service in the future. If you would like to purchase music you hear on DRAM, please visit the "Participating Labels" page, which features links to each label's webpage. Much of the material on DRAM is available for purchase directly from these sources.

Why are some materials unavailable to stream?

A system of royalty compensation has been fully developed and deployed to properly remunerate the artists in DRAM, but permissions to some material in the repertory are still in negotiation. DRAM works actively with publishers and labels to clear streaming rights to unavailable existing content and we will continue to clear and add more music in the coming months.


Legal FAQ


What uses of DRAM are permitted and prohibited?

Please see our Terms & Conditions of Use.

How do royalty payments work?

Copyright and licensing permission has been sought and established for all available information in DRAM. Appropriate parties are paid according to contractual agreements.