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APA Citation Style (6th ed.): Audiovisual media, including Supplemental guidance on music recordings

Audiovisual media (APA 7.07)

Identify creative responsibility other than authorship in parentheses.

Add media/format information in square brackets following the title if not provided in other elements of description.




Johnson, G. (Producer), & Padgett, J. (Director). (2001). Sticks & stones [DVD]. Montréal, Canada: National Film Board of Canada.


Audio recording:


Thomas, R. M. (Writer). (2005). Comparing theories of child development (6th ed.)(CD No. DT-HB224). Princeton, NJ: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic.


Music recording:


Mitchell, J. (1971). A case of you. [Recorded by Sloan]. On Back to the garden: A tribute to Joni Mitchell [CD]. Toronto, Canada: Intrepid Records. (1992)


Other descriptions of the format and/or nature of a work may be added following the title as needed, e.g.:


[Video cassette] or [CD-ROM] or [Television broadcast] or [Audio podcast]

Supplemental guidance on music recordings

The Publication Manual (6th ed.) provides the following general format for a music recording:

Writer, A. (Copyright year). Title of song [Recorded by B.B. Artist if different from writer]. On Title of album [Medium of recording: CD, record, cassette, etc.] Location: Label. (Date of recording if different from song copyright date)

Further instruction is given in Section 7.07 to “List primary contributors in the author position and use parentheses to identify their contribution” (p. 209).

The single example provided uses the song “Shadow and the frame,” released by k.d. lang (2008) on her Watershed recording. One example cannot adequately represent the diversity of musical recordings that may be referenced and, in fact, the accuracy of the chosen example is problematic: the song having been co-written with Tadeusz Borowiecki and Ann Meredith, Lang is perhaps better identified as one of the primary contributors, i.e. lyricist.

Scholarly publishing in musicology does not typically follow APA Style, but some journals addressing music education, music therapy, or the psychology of music do require submissions to conform to the Publication manual. These include:

Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education

Canadian Journal of Music Therapy

Canadian Music Educator

International Journal of Music Education

Journal of Music Therapy

Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Articles in such journals seldom reference music recordings but, in anticipation of a need not adequately addressed in the Publication manual, supplementary treatment of music recordings is provided in Jeff Hume-Pratuch’s How to Cite Recorded Music in APA Style,” posted on the official APA Style blog (2011, December 22). These examples do not treat all the various details that it may be desirable to include in some scholarly references. If you are required to cite music recordings using APA Style, recall the general advise of the Publication manual, “When in doubt, provide more information rather than less” (p. 193). Absent further guidance from the APA Style editorial team, this general rule may provide cover for the inclusion of details such as are found in Cowdery (2005) or Irvine and Radice (1999), style guides likely far more familiar to writers in the area of musicology.


Cowdery, J.R. (Ed.). (2005). How to write about music: The RILM manual of style. New York, NY: Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale.

Irvine, D., & Radice, M.A. (1999). Irvine’s Writing about music (3rd ed.). Portland, OR: Amadeus Press.