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Citing Sources

Can I just use music I find on a website for my project?

You may need to get permission in order to use the music for your project.

You definitely don’t need to get permission, if (and only if):

  • The work is in the public domain. This includes items published before 1923 or works published 1923-1963 whose copyright was not renewed. Learn more about the public domain -
  • The work has been permitted for use by the creator using Creative Commons licensing. There are several creative commons licenses which all permit use for academic work, but some restrict the ability to “remix” the creator’s original work. Learn more about Creative Commons Licenses -
  • Your project falls under the criteria for “fair use” (note: if your project will be available on the internet, your use of the image will not fall under fair use). Fair use allows for limited uses of copyrighted works without permission from the creator or that work.

Finding Music

If your project will be available on the internet, finding images in the public domain or with creative commons licensing can take the stress out of finding music that are able to be used online. Consider creating your own music for your project (and protecting it with your own Creative Commons license) or using one of the search engines below.

Please check the licenses for each item, as some of these search engines contain non-royalty free music.

Citing Music

MLA style:

Songs, albums, music streaming services (e.g. Spotify) and other common sources including artwork, films or movies, television, radio, video streaming services (Netflix, etc.). podcasts, and digital files.


Chicago Style

Musical recordings, live performances, film television and other recorded media.


APA style

Musical recordings, movies, television.

Citation Resources