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How to cite a music album reference

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Adams, A. (2021, November 10). How to cite a music album reference. APA Style.

How to cite a music album reference

If you’re like me, during quarantine, you have discovered (or rediscovered) quite a few music albums that helped you through some tough times. Now, how do you share these treasures with others in an APA Style paper or manuscript? Seventh edition APA Style guidelines have made citing a music album easier for writers.

First, if the work you are citing is a nonclassical work (guidelines on how to cite a classical music album appear later in this post), in the author element of your reference, write the name of the recording artist or group. Be sure to spell their name exactly as it appears on the work. (Read this post on how to cite a song or track for more on how to format artists’ name variations.)

Next, place the date the work was published in parentheses in the date element. Then include the title of the album in italic sentence case and describe the type of audio work in nonitalic sentence case in square brackets—for example, “[Album]”—in the title element of the reference.

Last, in the source element of the reference, provide the name(s) of the artist’s music label(s), separating multiple music labels with semicolons—as shown in the following example. (See the Elements of Reference List Entries topic page for more information on reference elements.)

Nonclassical music album, with multiple music labels

BTS. (2014). Dark & wild [Album]. BigHit Entertainment; LOEN Entertainment; Pony Canyon.


  • Parenthetical citation: (BTS, 2014)
  • Narrative citation: BTS (2014)

How do you cite a classical musical album?

To cite a classical music album, write the name of the composer as the author and use the publication date of the version of the work you used. Include the title of the album in italic sentence case. After the album title, in square brackets, write “Album recorded by” in nonitalic sentence case, followed by the individual or group who recorded the work. After the bracketed description and the ending period, provide the name(s) of the music label(s); again, separating multiple music labels with semicolons.

Credit the original source by providing the year the work was originally published at the end of the reference in parentheses, preceded by the words “Original work published.” Include both the original publication date and the publication date of the version of the work you used in the in-text citation, with the earlier year first, separated with a slash—as shown in the following reference and in-text citations.

Classical music album

Handel, G. F. (1966). Water music [Album recorded by The Hague Philharmonic Orchestra]. Nonesuch. (Original work published 1717)


  • Parenthetical citation: (Handel, 1717/1966)
  • Narrative citation: Handel (1717/1966)

How do you cite a music album that has been rerecorded or reissued?

If you want to cite a music album that has been rerecorded by an artist or reissued, use the template for a nonclassical music album. Include any additional details in parentheses after the album name (e.g., “Remastered” or “Remixed”). For reissued works, also include the original publication date in parentheses at the end of your reference and in your in-text citations—just as you would for a classical music album (as shown in the following example):

Reissued music album, remastered

Pink Floyd. (2016). The dark side of the moon (Remastered) [Album]. Pink Floyd Records. (Original work published 1973)


  • Parenthetical citation: (Pink Floyd, 1973/2016)
  • Narrative citation: Pink Floyd (1973/2016)

Usually, it is not necessary to specify how you listened to an album (e.g., streaming on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Pandora, Tidal, etc.; on CD; on vinyl). However, the format or other descriptive information may be included—in square brackets, following the word “Album” and a semicolon—when you need to specify the version you used (e.g., when a version of an album includes additional or alternative tracks or features you accessed). Adjust the wording as needed to note specific details (e.g., “[Album; 5-CD set]”).

A URL is generally not needed, even if you retrieved the album online. Include the URL in the reference only when that is the only source (e.g., when an artist releases an album on SoundCloud exclusively).

More information on audio works can be found in Section 10.13 in the Publication Manual and Section 10.11 in the Concise Guide to APA Style.