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 official APA style blog does discuss it here: How to cite pseudonyms.

The general APA rules are:

  • Cite what you see, so cite the person as listed.
  • For example, if writing about an interview with a famous musician, it is likely that the interview used the stage name.
  • However, if citing song lyrics from the liner notes, it may have 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 Jun 13, 2018
  • Views 1344
  • Answered By Baker Librarians

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0   0

We'll answer you within 3 hours M - F 8:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Your Question
Your Info
Fields marked with * are required.