Q. Do I reference real names or stage names?

This is regarding the citation of a song in APA style. I am writing an essay on the use of music. Some of the songwriters and singers have stage names, and their real names are not made known to the public. Is it fine to reference their stage names in the reference list instead?


Thank you for your question about APA citation style and citing pseudonyms. 

There is no official APA rule about pseudonyms, but the APA blog discusses--How to cite pseudonyms.

The general APA rules are:

  • Cite what you see, so cite the person as listed in the source.
  • For example, if citing a famous musician's interview, it is likely that the interview used the stage name.
  • However, if citing song lyrics, those may list the musician's legal name, which would be cited as listed. 

The APA Style blog also has instruction on How to Cite Recorded Music

Thank you for using ASK US. Please contact your Campus Library/ARC if you need additional assistance. 


  • Last Updated Oct 10, 2018
  • Views 1916
  • Answered By Baker Librarians

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