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How to Do MLA Citations for YouTube Songs


When writing a paper or essay, sometimes you may find yourself needing to cite materials from online sources, such as a song found on YouTube. Citing from these sources using the format suggested by the Modern Language Association requires you to collect information about the work you are citing and arrange it in a specific order.

Gather information about the song you want to cite. You will need at a minimum the title of the song, the name of the artist or composer, the date the video was published to YouTube and the date you accessed it, as well as any other relevant information such as the name of the performer.

Arrange the information in the following order in the "Works Cited" list, italicizing "YouTube:"

Artist or composer. "Video Title." Performer. YouTube. Date of publication. Web. Date of access.

For example:

Lady Gaga. "Bad Romance." YouTube. 23 Nov. 2009. Web. 30 Sep. 2011. Leonard Cohen. "Hallelujah." Perf. Jeff Buckley. YouTube. 25 Oct. 2009. Web. 30 Sep. 2011.

If required, include the URL to the video immediately after the date of access, enclosing it in angle brackets.

For example:

Justin Bieber. "One Time." YouTube. 24 Nov. 2009. Web. 30 Sep. 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHVhwcOg6y8>

Cite the song in the text of the paper by placing the name of the artist and, if necessary, the title of the song either within the sentence or in brackets, the same way you would cite any other source.

For example:

In "Wicked," Galinda at first expresses her "unadulterated loathing" for Elphaba ("What is this feeling?"), but then warms towards her and decides to help her ("Popular").

"There's nothin' wrong with lovin' who you are" is a powerful, empowering message (Lady Gaga, "Born this way").

About the Author

Laurel Storm has been writing since 2001, and helping people with technology for far longer than that. Some of her articles have been published in "Messaggero dei Ragazzi", an Italian magazine for teenagers. She holds a Master of Arts in writing for television and new media from the University of Turin.