How to Cite a Song in APA

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Published August 10, 2012. Updated January 18, 2022.

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Understanding how to cite songs in APA is crucial for projects that study pop culture, sociology, and a variety of other topics. This guide will show you how to cite songs following the guidelines for APA 7th edition.


Guide Overview


Citing a song

Structure:

Songwriter last name, F. M. (Copyright year). Song title [Recorded by F.M. Last (performer’s name/musical group)]. On Album title [Medium of recording]. Record label name.

Note: If the songwriter and performer are the same person, leave out the bracketed data [Recorded by _______] following the song title.

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Example:

Turner, A. (2013). Do I wanna know? [Recorded by Artic Monkeys]. On AM [Album]. Domino Records.

Citing an album

Structure:

Recording Artist or Group. (Date). Album title in sentence case [Album]. Record label name.

Example:

King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard. (2019). Infest the rat’s nest [Album]. ATO Records.

Citing a classical music album

For a classical music album, write the name of the composer as the author and the individuals/group who recorded the album in square brackets after the album title. At the end of the reference, include the original date of publication.

Structure:

Composer last name, F. M. (Date). Album title in sentence case. [Album recorded by group/last name, F. M.]. Recording label. (Original work published date)

Example:

Hopkins, A. (2011). And the waltz goes on. [Album recorded by A. Rieu & Johann Strauss Orchestra]. Decca. (Original work published 1725)

Citing an album that has been reissued or rerecorded

Include the original date of publication in paratheses after the recording label.

Example:

The Rolling Stones. (2015). Sticky fingers [Album]. UMe. (Originally published 1971)

In-text citations

For albums that have been rerecorded or reissued, include the original publication, write a slash, then include the date of the version you are using.

Example:

(Hopkins, 1725/2011)

 

 


 

 

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How do I cite a song or music video in APA format?

To cite a song or music video in APA style, you need to have basic information including the name of the composer, title of the song or music, company name, and publication date. The templates for in-text citation and reference list entry of a song or music video, along with examples, are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

In parenthetical citations, use the composer’s surname and the publication year.

Narrative

Composer’s Surname (Publication Year)

Beyoncé (2013)

Parenthetical

(Composer’s Surname, Publication Year)

(Beyoncé, 2013)

Reference list entry template and example:

Template:

Songwriter F.M. (Copyright year). Song title [Recorded by F.M. Last (performer’s name/musical group)]. On Album title [Medium of recording]. City, State of label: Record label name.

Example:

Beyoncé. (2013). Ring off. On Beyoncé: Platinum Edition [MP3 file]. Los Angeles, CA: Parkwood; Columbia.

How do I cite lyrics in APA format?

To cite lyrics in APA format, you need to have basic information including the name of the composer, title of the song, company name, date, and URL. The templates for in-text citation and reference list entry of lyrics, along with examples, are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

In parenthetical citations, use the composer’s surname and the publication year.

(Composer’s Surname, Publication Year, timestamp)

(Beyoncé, 2019, 02:36)

Reference list entry template and example:

Template:

Songwriter F.M. (Copyright year). Song title [Recorded by F.M. Last (performer’s name/musical group)]. On Album title [Medium of recording]. City, State of label: Record label name.

Example:

Beyoncé. (2019). Don’t jealous me. On Beyoncé: Platinum Edition [MP3 file]. Los Angeles, CA: Parkwood; Columbia.