MDMA is a registered charity run voluntarily by a handful of music-lovers. Our website is a place for people all around the world to upload their favourite Greater Manchester music artefacts and stories, and to let others know how important Greater Manchester music is to them, whether they are a fan, a musician or involved with the music industry itself.
We believe that by collecting these stories and scans virtually, we can help to preserve the social and cultural history of one of the most important and influential music cities in the world.
You can read more about our work in the ‘physical’ work here.
So where's the archive held? Is there a museum?
MDMA is an online archive, not a physical one. We curate temporary physical exhibitions in pop-up spaces and established venues. We also host events; provide information and training; and celebrate unsung stories in Manchester music through community outreach work.
How do I upload my artefacts and tell my stories?
The site has been designed with user-friendliness in mind. You can use your phone, tablet or desktop computer to upload artefacts.
To upload an artefact, add a story or leave a comment you need to be logged in to the site. Do this by clicking the 'Login' link at the top of every page.
You will see two sections – a log in for those who already have an account' and below a button that says 'Create your account'.
If you don't already have an account you will need to fill in the 'Create New Account' section. Type in your email address and make up a password. (Remember this password - you will need it each time you log in). No one will see your email address apart our web administrator.
You also need to have a Username - this is the name other people will see at the bottom of you uploaded artefact.
Once you have filled in all the above and read the sites Terms & Conditions, click the 'I Agree to the Terms and Conditions' button. You will then see a notice explaining that an email has been sent to you, which you need to respond to validate your account. Once you have done this then you are a full MDMA member! Congratulations. You are now a registered user.
To upload an artefact:
Click the 'Upload' link (orange button at the top of the page). A new page will open. Follow these simple steps:
1) What is it and when is it from?
Use this dropdown to select what kind of item it is i.e. flyer, poster, video, audio.
Give your item a date in dd/mm/yyyy format. Please use the exact date if possible then we can add your artefact to our calendar. If you don’t know the exact date, the year is sufficient.
2) Let’s have a look at it
Tell us whether it’s an image, a video (from YouTube or Vimeo) or audio (from Mixcloud)
IMAGES Images can be uploaded from your computer hard drive or your phone/tablet. You can take a photo of your image using your phone/tablet or select an old one. You can add multiple images to one upload i.e. for the pages of a fanzine. If you are scanning images, aim for 1000 pixels in length along the longest edge.
VIDEO Visit YouTube or Vimeo and copy the ‘share’ link of the video you want to upload. If you are using mobile, you may have to do this through your YouTube or Vimeo app.
Now add some text to describe what you are uploading. Please be as descriptive as possible. People around the world are interested in your story and this is why we have built this site! What is your artefact? Where did you get it? What does it mean to you? Who is in it? etc.
If you are uploading a collection of flyers from a club night that has taken place at a number of different Manchester venues, please make sure you include the name of that night (e.g. ‘Nude’, ‘Electric Chair’) in the ‘story’ box each time. This will make the actual club night searchable in our database.
IMPORTANT: Please remember to credit photographers, writers or graphic designers whenever you can.
Remember that this site will still exist in years to come and there will be a whole new generation of music lovers interested in what has come before them!
4) Tagging Artists/DJs/Industry professionals and Venues
Next click the ‘people or places’ box. Depending on your browser you can simply type in the first couple of letters of the band and venue you need and it will take you to those choices.
You can now tag your artefacts with Greater Manchester musicians/bands, DJs, Industry Professionals and Venues.
By industry professionals we mean people like band managers, journalists, photographers, record label owners, promoters and producers.
By ‘venues’ we mean live music venues, theatres, records shops, recording studios, etc.
Using the same box choose a Greater Manchester venue, past or present that your artefact relates to.
If your item ONLY relates to a venue OR a band that’s fine! For example, the Rolling Stones at The Free Trade Hall would simply be tagged as Free Trade Hall because the Rolling Stones are not a Manchester band.
Adding a new entry to our database
If your artefact relates to people or places that aren’t listed in our database you can ‘add new’ by typing into the box and clicking the ADD button. Please don’t add things to our database that don’t relate to Greater Manchester.
You will then be asked to tell us what the new item is you’re adding i.e. is it a band? A DJ? Or a venue?
I've tried to upload a picture but I got a warning. Help me please!
If this has happened it's usually due to one of two things: Either the picture you have tried to upload is too small for our site, or too big. An ideal size to aim for is 1000 pixels on the longest edge.
I have some great artefacts but no way of getting them uploaded.
If this is the case and you live in Greater Manchester, contact us, as we may be able to visit you with a laptop, a scanner and camera
What if I don't have an artefact to photograph?
Be creative! If you want to tell a story that involves Manchester music but don't have an artefact to upload with it think about what image you could add. Maybe you could simply scan the record or CD connected to your story, or take a picture of yourself outside the venue where it took place.
Can I add more than one venue to an artefact?
Yes – this is handy for festivals such as Sounds of the Other City in Salford.
What is an online exhibition?
An online exhibition is a curated collection of digitised artefacts (scans, photos, images) that anyone who has access to the internet can view. Online exhibitions are like physical exhibitions, but they exist digitally instead of in the ‘real’ world.
Museums and other organisations create online exhibitions for many reasons. For example, an online exhibition may: expand on material presented at, or generate interest in, or create a durable online record of, a physical exhibition; save production costs (insurance, shipping, installation); solve conservation/preservation problems (e.g., handling of fragile or rare objects); reach lots more people. Access to information is no longer restricted to those who can afford travel and museum visits, but is available to anyone who has access to a computer with an Internet connection.
Unlike physical exhibitions, online exhibitions are not restricted by time; they are not forced to open and close but are available 24 hours a day.
Abigail Ward, co-founder of MDMA, has been creating online exhibitions about Greater Manchester music since 2008. You can view hers here:
How do I create my own online exhibition within the MDMArchive website?
First of all you must register to become a member or simply login:
You can use your own artefacts as well as other people’s to create an exhibition. We would suggest a minimum of 20 artefacts.
You can write your own text to go with each artefact you include. PLEASE NOTE: This will not overwrite the original uploader’s text in our main website.
Think about your subject
You will need to give some thought to what you might like your exhibition to be about. It might be an exhibition about your favourite moments in Manchester music. It could include tickets from your favourite gig, photos of your favourite bands, flyers of the most important club nights in your life or press articles about a scene that was important to you.
Or you could create an exhibition about a certain area in Manchester, like Chorlton or Rusholme; or a particular scene, such as Manchester jazz, heavy rock or 1960s Beat music. Or you could focus on a Manchester music fanzine you have collected, or maybe do an exhibition on your unsigned band.
Create your exhibition
Go to your Account page and click My Exhibitions. You will see a link for 'Add New Exhibition', if you click that, you can enter the name and details of your exhibition. Next you need search for your first artefact to add, using the search facility in the homepage. Click to view that artefact. At the bottom of the artefact you will see an ‘Add to my Exhibitions’ section with a link to the name of the exhibition you just set up (and any others you may add in future).
Edit exhibition details
Adding the artefact will take you back to your new exhibition page. Here you can edit the details of your exhibition. This includes: the name, the descriptive text, the order of the artefacts and the cover image for our exhibition menu page. At the bottom of the page is a list of all your artefacts. You can drag and drop to change the order and click the artefact name to enter your own story for each one.
Edit artefact text
Next you can edit the details of your chosen artefact Please add YOUR OWN text to each artefact explaining why you have chosen it.
PLEASE NOTE: Your new text will not overwrite the original uploader’s text on our main website. The original uploader of each artefact will also be clearly credited in each artefact in your final exhibition. You must credit the photographer or designer of each artefact in your text wherever it is possible to do so. Don’t forget to save your text each time!
Adding more artefacts
After you have created your artefact you can simple keep adding artefacts to it via our main website. You can do this as many times as you like. You can grow your exhibition over a period of years! The bigger the better!
You can share it on social media via the social media buttons in you exhibition ‘About’ section. We add our favourite exhibitions to our exhibition menu page here.
Our archive currently contains 3937 Bands / Artists, 776 DJs, 1503 Places, 359 People and 31595 artefacts contributed by 4345 members.