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How to Cite a Song in APA Style

Songs are significant sources in various academic disciplines, including music, cultural studies, and social sciences. Citing songs in APA style requires specific elements: songwriter’s name, song title, album name, record label, and release year. These details apply to both in-text citations and reference list entries.

Elements of a Song Citation

Song Title

When citing a song in APA style, the song title should be in sentence case and italicized. For example:

Shape of you.

Artist/Band

The artist or band should be credited by listing their last name followed by their initials. For instance,

“Sheeran, E.” ensures proper acknowledgment of the creator.

Year of Release

Including the year of release is essential for precision. This helps distinguish between different versions or recordings of the same song. For example,

Shape of you” by Sheeran, E. (2017).

Album Title

If the song is part of an album, the album title should be italicized and placed after the song title. For example:

Sheeran, E. (2017). Shape of you. On Divide.

Citing a Song from a Physical Album

Structure of the Citation

For a song from a physical album, the basic structure is: Artist, A. A. (Year). Title of song. On Title of album [Medium of recording]. Label.

Example of a Song Citation from a CD or Vinyl

An example would be:

Bowie, D. (1971). Life on Mars? On Hunky Dory [Vinyl]. RCA Records.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Common mistakes include wrong song title and album formatting, missing the recording medium, and not listing the correct release year. Paying attention to details is crucial.

Citing a Song from a Streaming Service

Differences Between Physical and Digital Citations

Citing songs from streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music involves a slightly different approach. The key difference is the inclusion of the URL.

How to Cite from Spotify, Apple Music, and Others

For digital citations, the structure is: Artist, A. A. (Year). Title of song. On Title of album. Retrieved from URL. For example:

Grande, A. (2019). Thank U, Next. On Thank U, Next. Retrieved from https://www.spotify.com.

Streaming Service Citation Example

An example citation would be:

Swift, T. (2020). Cardigan. On Folklore. Retrieved from https://www.spotify.com.

Incorporating In-Text Citations for Songs

How to Reference a Song Within Your Text

In-text citations for songs follow the author-date format. For example,

(Sheeran, 2017) or if quoting directly, (Sheeran, 2017, track 3).

Examples of In-Text Citations

For a direct quote:

“In ‘Shape of You,’ Sheeran (2017) sings, ‘I’m in love with the shape of you’.” For a general reference: (Sheeran, 2017).

Ensuring Consistency in Your Paper

Consistency is key to maintaining the credibility of your paper. Ensure that all song titles, artist names, and dates are correctly cited and match the reference list.

Handling Special Cases

Live Performances

Citing live performances involves noting the date and venue of the performance. For example:

Bowie, D. (1973, July 3). Live performance at Hammersmith Odeon, London.

Cover Songs

For cover songs, cite both the original artist and the cover artist. For example:

Hendrix, J. (1968). All Along the Watchtower [Originally written by Bob Dylan]. On Electric Ladyland.

Songs with Multiple Artists

For songs with multiple artists, list all contributors. For example:

Harris, C., & Swift, T. (2015). This Is What You Came For. On This Is What You Came For.

FAQs

Q1: How do I format the title of a song in APA Style?

To format the title of a song in APA Style, you should use sentence case and italicize the title. For example, “Shape of you.”

Q2: What is the difference between citing a song from a physical album and a streaming service?

When citing a song from a physical album, you need to include the medium of recording (e.g., CD, vinyl). For streaming services, you include the URL where the song can be found. For example, for a CD:

Bowie, D. (1971). Life on Mars? On Hunky Dory [Vinyl]. RCA Records

For streaming: Swift, T. (2020). Cardigan. On Folklore. Retrieved from https://www.spotify.com.

Q3: How do I cite a live performance in APA Style?

To cite a live performance, include the artist’s name, the date of the performance, and the venue. For example: Bowie, D. (1973, July 3). Live performance at Hammersmith Odeon, London.

Q4: Can I use online tools to help with APA music citations?

Yes, you can use WriterBuddy (https://writerbuddy.ai/) to help with APA music citations. These tools provide templates and automated citation generation to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Final Tips for Perfect APA Citations

Accurate citation of songs in APA format is essential for academic credibility. The process involves including songwriter information, song title, album details, and publication information. Following these guidelines helps properly attribute musical works and provides readers with necessary information to locate the original source.

 

 

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