There may come a time when referencing a music album or lyrics from that album is necessary or simply a good fit for your academic or research paper. Luckily, Modern Language Association (MLA) style provides citation formats for a variety of non-print and web sources, including music albums, whether in compact disc (CD), long-playing record (LP) or audiocassette form. Albums in a works cited list are usually listed by artist with the composer or performer, if distinct from the artist, placed later in the citation, but you can also list albums by composer or performer, depending on the desired emphasis.
Things You'll Need
- CD/LP/Audiocassette or source providing album and recording information
Type the group's name or the individual artist's last name followed by a comma and his or her first name. For example, if you cite an album by The Beatles, you would use "The Beatles," but if you cite an album by Paul McCartney, you would use "McCartney, Paul." Place a period after the group's or artist's name. If listing the album by composer or performer, place a comma after the artist's name, followed by the appropriate abbreviation, or "comp." or "perf."
Type and italicize the album title followed by a period.
Type the name(s) of the artist, group, composer(s) and/or performer(s), if distinct from the first-listed person or group, followed by a period. If listing the album by artist and he is also the composer and performer, you may skip this part of the citation. If the first-listed person is distinct from the artist, group, composer(s) or performer(s), type and capitalize the appropriate abbreviation, such as "Perf." or "Comp.," followed by the group's name or the person's first and last name. For example, when citing "Magical Mystery Tour" by The Beatles, you would use "Comp. John Lennon and Paul McCartney," as these two members composed all but one song on the album.
Type the name of the recording manufacturer followed by a comma, the year of issue and a period. For example, the Beatles's "Magical Mystery Tour" was recorded by EMI Records Ltd. in 1967, so you would type "EMI, 1967." If the year of issue is unknown, use "n.d." in place of the year.
Type the medium of your source, such as audiotape, audiocassette, CD or LP, followed by a period. Do not italicize or put in quotation marks.
Align the first line of your citation to the left and indent any additional lines. Using The Beatles's "Magical Mystery Tour" album as an example, your album citation should look similar to the following, with the album name italicized: The Beatles. Magical Mystery Tour. Comp. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. EMI, 1967. CD.
Tips & Warnings
- In addition to the album's year of issue, you may also include the date of the recording, if the entire album was recorded on a specific date and if this date is known. Place the recording date before the manufacturer's name and list as "Rec." followed by the day, month and year, without any commas, and a period. Abbreviate all months except for May, June and July.
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources; Tony Russell, et al; February 2011
- "MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers," 7th Ed.; The Modern Language Association of America; 2009
- Photo Credit PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images
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