How to Cite a Musical Recording in Harvard Referencing
  • 3-minute read
  • 29th October 2020

How to Cite a Musical Recording in Harvard Referencing

Are you writing about a musical recording, such as an album on CD or a song on a streaming platform, for an essay? If so, you will need to cite it in the text and include it in your reference list. In this post, we look at how to cite a musical recording using Harvard referencing in your work.

Citing a Musical Recording in Harvard Referencing

Harvard referencing uses parenthetical author‒date citations. For a musical recording, this means citing the surname of the artist followed by the year of release. In practice, then, we could cite a musical recording as follows:

The third part of the album was notably experimental (Sinatra, 1980).

Swift (2020) tells the story of Harkness’ life in under four minutes.

You would then provide the full source details in your reference list. For more on in-text citations in Harvard referencing, see our blog post.

Adding a Musical Recording to a Harvard Reference List

In a Harvard reference list, you will give the full source information for each source you’ve cited in your essay, listing them alphabetically by the author (or artist) surname. The basic format here for a full-length musical recording in a physical format (e.g., an album on CD or a vinyl record) is:

Surname, Initial(s). (Year of Release) Title [Medium]. Distributor Location, Distribution Company.

In practice, then, our Sinatra example above would be listed as:

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Sinatra, F. (1980) Trilogy: Past, Present, Future [Vinyl]. United States, Warner Records.

For a digital recording, such as a streaming service or download, include a URL and a date of access at the end of the reference:

Max, A. (2020) Heaven and Hell [Spotify]. United States, Atlantic Records. Available at: (Accessed September 18, 2020).

And if you want to cite a specific song from a longer recording, simply add the song title before the album name:

Swift, T. (2020) “The Last Great American Dynasty,” Folklore [Spotify]. United States, Republic. Available at: (Accessed on September 18, 2020).

Harvard Variations and Proofreading

Keep in mind that Harvard referencing is a style, not a system. As such, if you’re a student, check your school’s style guide for their rules.

And if you need a little extra help to make sure your academic writing is error free, why not ask our Harvard referencing experts to check your citations? Just let us know which version of the system you’re using.

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