Wikipedia:WikiProject Songs

WikiProject Songs is a project intended to improve articles on songs. The goal is to make the song articles provide basic information in a quick and easy-to-read fashion. This project is based on WikiProject Albums, and uses similar templates. Both are part of WikiProject Music.

Notability edit

Most songs do not merit an article and should redirect to another relevant article, such as for a prominent album or for the artist who wrote or prominently performed the song. Songs that have been ranked on national or significant music charts, that have won significant awards or honors or that have been performed independently by several notable artists, bands or groups are probably notable. A separate article is only appropriate when there is enough verifiable material to warrant a reasonably detailed article; permanent stubs should be merged to articles about an artist or album.

Albums and songs that have been nominated for deletion are listed at Wikipedia:WikiProject Deletion sorting/Albums and songs.

Style edit

Article titles edit

The title of an article about a song should be the song's title itself without quotation marks, for example, Paranoid Android. If there is another article with that title, use the format '<song name> (song)', for example, "Wonderwall (song)". If there is more than one song article with a title then disambiguate by putting the artist name in the title to make '<song name> (<artist name> song)', for example "Because (Beatles song)". The possessive case is not to be used either: thus, "Beatles song," and not, "Beatles' song".

If the song is in a foreign language and titled using the Latin alphabet, then, unless the song is commonly known by a translated name in the English-speaking world, the original foreign title should be used. This may require using accented letters which are not used in English. Examples: "Ein bißchen Frieden", "Je n'ai que mon âme", "Fångad av en stormvind".

If the single title does not use the Latin alphabet, the article name should be the transliterated form of the title using Latin characters. Examples: "Kaihōku" instead of 解放区 or "Liberated District", "Ya Soshla S Uma" not "Я сошла с ума" or "I've Lost My Mind", "Sanso Gateun Neo (Love Like Oxygen)" instead of "산소 같은 너 (Love Like Oxygen)" or "You're Like Oxygen (Love Like Oxygen)".

Formatting edit

When creating any music articles remember that song and single titles go in quotation marks "like this" and album titles are italicised like this. The song title should be in boldface in the first sentence and in infobox chronologies, but the surrounding quotation marks should not be in boldface.

When linking to song articles, use piping to conceal the disambiguation terms, for example use the syntax "[[Because (The Beatles song)|Because]]", to make the link simply appear as "Because".

Also, although piping is normally discouraged on disambiguation pages, song and album titles are an exception:

Capitalization edit

Infoboxes edit

Several infoboxes are available for song articles. The most frequently used is Template:Infobox song. Other more specialized infoboxes are available, such as Template:Infobox musical composition (also used for hymns), Template:Infobox anthem, and Template:Infobox song contest entry (for Eurovision Song Contest entries). Please see those template description/documentation pages for their proper use.

Article content edit

Main body edit

Write a description of the song. Write the basics first (this is often the information contained in the infobox). Then write about the music and lyrics, its influences and its effect on culture (with citations, of course). Because the entire article is about the song, it is recommended that there be no section headers with titles such as "Song information" or "About the song".

Stick to factual material. Do not include "original research" such as opinions about a song, or interpretations of the lyrics or even statements about what the song is "about", unless they can be provided in the form of quotes that can be cited from sources with some authoritative insight (such as the songwriter or a notable performer). Other websites are available for people who want to give subjective interpretations of songs.

Single track listings edit

A separate section for listing the tracks of various single releases should not be added to articles as a standard practice. Instead, they should only be added when they are the subject of extensive commentary in the article. For example, a separate track listing section is unnecessary to list a B-side that is only briefly mentioned in the article. However, in more complex situations, such as when multiple formats/tracks/remixes are discussed in the article, they may be justified.

Lyrics and music videos edit

Do not include the song's entire lyrics or embed the song's music video in the article unless you are certain they are in the public domain. Quotations of the work within the analytical framework can fall into the fair use provisions within US copyright law (and to a lesser extent fair dealing and related concepts within other jurisdictions). However, how much of a song you can quote is open to interpretation, but you should avoid copyright paranoia. Examples of works still under copyright can be found at Category:FA-Class song articles and should be used as guidelines. Lyrics and music videos that are in the public domain may be entered at Wikisource. Links to external websites that provide lyrics belong in the "External links" section.

Per Wikipedia policy, please do not link to websites that are in violation of the artist's own copyright. See Wikipedia:Copyrights#Linking to copyrighted works. If there is a question regarding the licensing or accuracy of the information, including songwriter credits, please do not add a link. See Wikipedia:External links#Links normally to be avoided.

When linking to a music video on YouTube use only the videos that have been uploaded by the musician(s), the record companies, or Vevo. The official YouTube channel can also be used. Links can be incorporated into the infobox (via |misc= using {{External music video}}) or the external links of the article using {{YouTube}}. Though the list of musician channels varies, a list of the acceptable record labels and distributors is presented below:

Chart performance and charts edit

Songs that are popular enough to appear on prominent record charts should have a "Chart performance" section. This section describes the song's history on the record charts and usually includes a table showing the song's peak chart positions. For help researching a song's chart history see the chart listings section below. For more information about displaying chart information in table format, see the Music Project's guidelines for chart tables.

Additional information to include edit

Articles about songs should contain information on important musical characteristics such as:

  • structure (chorus/verse/bridge)
  • key. For traditional tunes if there is a reliable source indicating that there is a settled key or keys include this information.
  • time signature or signatures for tunes which have alternative versions in this respect, particularly those which may be in 3/4 vs 6/8 and those which have cut time variants which are verifiable.
  • Of lesser importance but possibly notable are recording techniques used, if there is a major recording or an original release for non-traditional songs.

Cover versions/multiple renditions edit

Only cover versions/renditions important enough to have gained attention in their own right should be added to song articles. When a song has been recorded or performed by more than one artist, a particular artist's rendition should be included in the song's article (or perhaps in a separate article; see below), but only if at least one of the following applies:

  • the rendition is discussed by a reliable source, showing that it is noteworthy in its own right. Merely appearing in an album track listing, a discography, etc., is not sufficient to show that a cover version is noteworthy; cover songs with only these types of sources should not be added to song articles, either as prose or in a list.
  • the rendition itself meets the notability requirement at WP:NSONGS.

Per WP:NSONG, cover songs can be addressed in separate articles, provided that the article on the cover can be reasonably-detailed based on facts independent of the original. However, cover versions/renditions that are important enough to have gained attention in their own right should also be addressed in the article about the original, even if it is not significant enough for a standalone article. For lists of recordings by date, use an instance of {{Timeline-event}} for each entry; see WP:DATELIST.

Popular culture, trivia and use in other media edit

Songs are heard and referenced in movies, TV shows, commercials, during political campaigns and at sporting events; songs are widely adopted in popular culture but not every instance is noteworthy. The use of a song is only worthy of noting in its respective article when it:

  • has gained its own critical attention; e.g. a movie reviewer may critique a director's use of a song, or a newspaper may report on the reentry of an old song into the charts after its use in a TV commercial (similar to advice in WP:NSONG and WP:SONGCOVER)
  • is discussed by a reliable source; i.e. the critical attention is featured prominently in meritorious publications
  • is not merely listed or mentioned in passing; e.g. a movie review in a quality source simply lists the songs in the movie, without discussing the importance or merits of the songs' use

Taking care to not synthesize or infer that sources are discussing the use of the song; if the above criteria are met, next consider the value of the information for the readers' knowledge and understanding of the subject, and if the article about a song could be considered incomplete without the addition. If the use of the song is noteworthy and informative:

In any event, the uses of the song should not be given undue weight, and verifiability and notability do not dictate that the details should be included.

A fair example of the noteworthy use of a song in other media is of Lou Reed's song "Perfect Day" being used in an episode of Fear the Walking Dead.

  • Matthew Chernov for Variety discusses the qualities and content of the song and its use in relation to the tone of the episode.[1]

A tragic example of what happens when these guidelines are not respected can be seen in the "In popular culture" section of the article about "Happy Together" by the Turtles.

External links edit

Follow the guidelines at WP:External links

Material that can be linked include:

  • a musical score, chords, or tabs/sheet music, provided the source is hosting them with a license and does not violate copyright;
  • non-copyrightable materials, such as scores/sheet music for public domain arrangements of public domain works, or guitar chords that closely match known public domain works;
  • officially licensed lyrics that follow the copyright policy. Sites frequently change providers and methodologies, so it is important to make sure that the most current is copyright compliant. When in doubt, do not link.
  • interviews with performers, writers, producers, etc., talking about the song, provided the source does not violate copyright.

As per WP:MUSICSTREAM songs streamed on a licensed website (such as Radio3Net) or hosted on an official website, such as an official Myspace page or a band's or record company's own website, may have a link placed in the External links section according to Wikipedia guidelines. There should be a note regarding the media used ("Adobe Flash"), and that it may not be available in all regions ("streamed copy where licensed"). Care should be taken that the site is hosting the music legally; that it does not meet any of the criteria for links to be avoided; that, as a minimum, the site is accessible by the main English regions North America, UK and Australia; and that the link is formatted appropriately. Suggested formats are:

It is recommended that "<!-- This is a licensed stream for the song, which is allowed under Wikipedia polices -->" is placed beside the link, and that a comment is made in the edit summary such as "External links: [[WP:ELYES]]#2; [[WP:MUSICSTREAM]]"

Categories edit

Per WP:CATEGORY, a song may be categorized by a characteristic (such as producer, composer, record-label, etc.) only if it is a defining characteristic of the song (i.e. reliable, secondary sources commonly and consistently define the song as having the characteristic—not just mention it in passing or for completeness).

  • Year of publication or release is normally a defining characteristic for every song. For other characteristics, if a song is defined by a particular characteristic, then it is likely that the object of the characteristic (e.g. the conductor, producer, etc.) will be notable in that capacity and qualify (per WP:NOTABLE and WP:MUSIC) for its own Wikipedia article: if such an article does not exist, then the characteristic is probably not defining.
  • Where a team of people is credited for a characteristic (excluding songwriter credits which should be split to the individuals), the official credit must not be split into multiple categories for individual team members.[2] So, for example, if Y is a member of a song's production team X, categorization may not be as 'songs produced by Y'; 'songs produced by X' might however, be included as a related category of 'songs produced by Y', or the song might be categorized directly as 'Y' (perhaps in addition to 'songs produced by X').
  • For an example of where a characteristic might warrant split-categorization, consider a song that is defined as being "a world-wide commercial success"; in this case, as there is no worldwide sales certification body, several categorizations may be made per appropriate national or regional sales certification bodies.
  • Characteristics that commonly define one class of song might not define another class of song. E.g. 'conducted-by' commonly defines classical-music works but rarely, if ever, defines rock-music songs. 'Produced-by' sometimes defines pop- and rock-music songs, but rarely defines classical-music works. Large record-label companies don't often qualify as a defining characteristic of a song; small, specialized record-labels however, may do.
  • If the above seems to disallow grouping articles as you think they should be, consider using an alternative mechanism such as a list-article (see WP:CLN).

Song articles should be placed into the following categories whenever applicable :-

  1. a subcategory of Category:Songs by artist ("Category:<Artist name> songs"), and
  2. a subcategory of Category:Songs by year, using only the earliest year identified by a reliable source as being written, performed, published, recorded, or released, and
  3. a subcategory of Category:Singles by year for singles.
  4. The songwriters should be placed in either Category:Songs by songwriter (“Category:Songs written by <songwriter>”), Category:Songs by lyricist("Category:Songs with lyrics by <lyricist>") or Category:Songs by composer ("Category:Songs with music by <composer>"). Only one category should be created for each songwriter, so if a songwriter contributes words and/or music then the category should be in songs by songwriter only.
  5. Other than Category:Songs by artist, "Category:<Artist name> songs" should be placed into at least two other subcategories, a subcategory of Category:Songs by country and one or more subcategories of Category:Songs by genre, but only if the genre describes a majority of their songs.

For example, "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" by The Temptations was released in 1971, so it is in Category:The Temptations songs, Category:1971 songs and Category:1971 singles, Category:Songs written by Barrett Strong, Category:Songs written by Norman Whitfield while Category:The Temptations songs is in Category:Songs by artist, Category:American songs, Category:Motown singles and Category:Rhythm and blues songs. It is also in the category Category:The Rolling Stones songs because the The Rolling Stones recorded a notable version which is referred to in the article.


  1. For consistency, the artist name in "Category:<Artist name> songs" should usually be the same as the name in the title of the article.
  2. Please do not place song articles directly in Category:Songs or Category:Singles (music).
  3. A song should only be categorised once in Category:Songs by year either by the year of first publication or release (whichever is earliest). Obviously if it is released as a single more than once it should be listed accordingly.
  4. If the song is in a genre in which the artist has very few songs, the song article may be added to a specific Category:Songs by genre when the artist's overall "Category:<Artist name> songs" has not been added to this genre category.

Stubs edit

If the article is a stub, please use one of the following stub templates at the bottom of the page:

Models edit

The following is a list of featured articles on songs and singles. These are articles that the community as a whole have judged as being some of the best articles on Wikipedia. They can serve as excellent examples for articles on singles and songs.

The full list can be seen at Category:FA-Class song articles

Assessment edit

 Songs NA‑class
 This article is within the scope of WikiProject Songs, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of songs on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
NAThis article has been rated as NA-class on Wikipedia's content assessment scale.

Please add Template:WikiProject Songs to the song article's talk page. An assessment of the article's quality may be included by specifying one of the following codes: |class=X, where X (for a stub), Start, C, B, A, GA or FA (see Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Assessment for explanation of terms). Note that the parameter and values are case sensitive.

The rating by importance is not currently implemented, as the project is currently rating articles based on their class for use by the Version 1.0 team and others, including this project itself. Importance is a parameter of potential use to the project itself, possibly in determining which articles are top contenders for future collaboration. However, as the specific importance of articles varies between projects, it is less of a priority right now than determining the quality of the articles which fall within the scope of this project.

Members edit

To add yourself as a member, put the userbox labeled {{User WikiProject Songs}} on your user page.

 This user is a member of WikiProject Songs.

To see who has joined the project, see Category:WikiProject Songs participants.

See also edit

List of notable songs: an editable list created as part of the Missing encyclopedic articles WikiProject.

Requested Articles; an editable list of requested song articles, to fulfil or add your own.

Resources edit

Chart listings edit

Check the reliability of the chart for a specific country through WP:CHARTS. Some sources include:

  • For a reliable source on Billboard charts of all genres dating back to 1944, refer to Joel Whitburn's books published by Billboard Publications.
  • has been listed in WP:BADCHARTS and should not be used as a source.
  • ARIA has end-of-year Australian charts from 1989 onwards and a list of certifications at the end of each year for singles and albums (platinum and gold).
  • Oz Music Charts has a list of number-one hits in the U.S., UK, and Australia dating back to the 1950s.
  • has top-forty positions for UK singles from 1952.
  • the Database of Popular Music has an extensive database of songs and includes hits by year for both UK and U.S.
  • Randy Price has compiled the Cash Box magazine Best Selling Record charts from 1950 on.
  • is an unlicensed archive compiled by an anonymous source, and contains several charts listed on WP:BADCHARTS. WP:GOODCHARTS recommends against its use in featured or good articles. Archive from 2003.

Track listings edit

Subpages edit

Watchlist edit

Watch the 1500 most popular song pages!

Article alerts edit

Today's featured articles

Did you know

Articles for deletion

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Proposed deletions

Categories for discussion

Redirects for discussion

Files for discussion

Featured article candidates

Featured list candidates

Good article nominees

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Good topic candidates

Peer reviews

Requested moves

Articles to be merged

Articles to be split

Articles for creation

Notes edit

  1. ^ Matthew Chernov (September 20, 2015). "'Fear The Walking Dead' Episode 4 Recap: Boots on the Ground". Variety. Archived from the original on September 22, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Otherwise, the categorization loses potency as it is no longer per the defining characteristic; also, the official (legal) credit could be misconstrued (category names may be seen in the article unordered, disjoint, or incomplete)