Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group has launched Backwing, a website the publisher intends to serve as a new digital hub for the arts community. Backwing will feature curated content created by and for actors, artists, authors, musicians, songwriters, producers, entertainers, and fans. It is distinct from Hal Leonard's trade books division website, which serves primarily as an online catalog.

“For nearly seven decades, Hal Leonard has provided consumers with the highest quality information available,” publisher John Cerullo said in a statement. “Backwing offers us a dynamic new means of reaching them, responding to their feedback, and cultivating conversations around our content in real time.”

The name is derived from the world of stage performances, Cerullo said, and was chosen in part because it was a word that "wasn't typical or overused in connection to theatre, film or music."

"As you know, the word "wing" directly relates to stage performances of all kinds, in that it means the sides of the stage, out of the view of the audience," Cerullo said. "So in adding the word, 'back' to 'wing,' we are evoking the sensibilities of bringing the visitor to our site not only to what happens onstage but offstage on the 'wings.'"

The site includes three main components: the aforementioned curated content, a resource database with performing arts–related materials, and a direct-to-consumer sales portal with deals, giveaways, contests, and special offers. (The site's inaugural contest, co-sponsored by Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, musical instrument manufacture Epiphone, and music industry website Harmony Central, will offer as grand prize a Limited Edition 2015 Joe Bonamassa Les Paul Standard guitar.) The sales arm will be hosted at an entirely separate domain that can also be reached via a link on the Backwing site proper.

“Since Backwing was designed with the end user foremost in mind, we’ve decided against tangling content and commerce,” Cerullo said. “As such, multimedia content and resources are hosted at the deliberately noncommercial domain backwing.com while consumer products and services are restricted to the store.”

The store will serve as one of the site's major sources of traffic, Cerullo hopes, along with its promotional partnerships, media partnerships, and social media. Initially, it will offer only products from imprints under the Hal Leonard banner—Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, and Amadeus Press—but will open to the products of third parties after a few months.