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what does ep stand for in music

what does ep stand for in music

what does ep stand for in music

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Extended play

An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, ismusical recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain four or five tracks, and are considered “less expensive and time-consuming” for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.

Ricardo Baca of The Denver Post said, “EPs—originally extended-play ‘single’ releases that are shorter than traditional albums—have long been popular with punk and indie bands.” In the United Kingdom, the Official Chart Company defines a boundary between EP and album classification at 25 minutes of maximum length and no more than four tracks (not counting alternative versions of featured songs, if present).

Wondering how to make an EP? Well, you have come to the right place! For independent artists with limited resources, recording a full LP can be costly and very time-consuming. That is why many artists, especially at the start of their career in the music industry, begin by recording EPs. So, the big question is, what does an EP mean in music? Read on to find out!

what does ep stand for in music
what does ep stand for in music

What Does EP Mean In Music?

An EP is a medium-length album that has a fewer number of songs than an LP or full length album, usually 4 to 6 songs long. This definition strays far away from its original one, so what does EP mean in music?

Back in the 20th Century, the term EP stands for Extended Play Record. It referred to a type of vinyl record that was played at a different speed than the standard play records (SPs and LPs).

The difference between EP and LP is that an LP is ‘Long Playing’ and generally has more than 8 tracks. Whereas, as above an EP has 4-6 tracks.

If you want to successfully record an EP and get it heard by the right people you will have to consider a few things.

Let’s dive in!

How Many Songs Are On An EP?

EPs should have between four and six tracks. iTunes and Spotify only classify/consider something as an EP if it has 4-6 tracks.

If you’re wondering whether to go closer to 4 or 6; this depends on your musical style and on the purpose of the EP.

If you aim to send it to record labels, you probably want more so they can get a vibe of your style. You want to show you have a good variety of decent songs.

On the other hand, if your aim is to give it away for promotion, you should include much less. You don’t want to give too many tracks away as this is not an album. Your album will include more songs and will be the next level up which people can buy into you.

You ideally want to create something that people will listen to a few times and want a full album of!

It shouldn’t be such a short running time that they can’t get a feel of what you’re about. You want to show you can do more than just one or two good tracks, so don’t skimp on the value you deliver.

Basically, don’t have so many tracks that you’re giving away too much. But also not so few that you’re not giving them enough to listen to.

What Are The Maximum And Minimum Track Lengths?

For the most part, you want songs to be 2 and a half to 3 and a half minutes long.

Since an EP is just a taster of your music you should always try to keep as concise as possible.

Again, this varies quite a lot from genre to genre. Genres such as Progressive Rock tend to have lengthier songs. So having 6 and 8-minute songs isn’t as crazy.

You want to showcase all the themes and the hook early on in the song to make it memorable.

iTunes and Spotify classify something as an EP if it’s under 30 minutes total. If your EP is over 30 minutes iTunes and Spotify will not consider it an EP!

what does ep stand for in music
what does ep stand for in music

How Do You Promote Your First EP?

Keep reading to see some of the best release tips and how to promote your EP before and after your release it!

How To Release An EP Independently?

Make sure you have an EP release plan with a set release date.

Nowadays, it is crucial to release your EP in as many online channels as you can afford. For example BandCamp, ReverbNation, SoundCloud etc.

While doing all this, make sure as well that all your Metadata is perfect. You may fail to get paid any royalties if your name is misspelled, for example!

Make sure you shout about it on social media. You could throw a release party as well, releasing music is something to celebrate!

Besides, everyone loves going to parties, and if your EP is the central reason for the event, it will get the attention of all the guests.

Single vs. EP vs. LP

There are three primary primary formats in which artists release music in the current industry. They are known as a single, an EP and an LP, each with their own meaning.

You probably already know what a single is, as the name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a stand-alone song which can be released separate of other projects or in anticipation of a bigger, future release.

On the other side of the spectrum we have the term LP, often referred to as a “full length” album. It’s a big collection of songs, usually anywhere from eight songs and up. More often than not, this is what someone is referring to when describing “an album”.

Finally an EP is the halfway point between a single and an LP. The meaning behind EP is a smaller collection of music. It’s not as many songs as an LP but it’s a bigger release than just a single.

LPs used to be the primary way people consumed music. However, with the rise in streaming, more artists are releasing singles and EPs to keep up with the need for consistent content.

History and Meaning of The Term “EP” in Music

The meaning behind the terms “EP” and “LP” come from the days when music was released on vinyl.

LP was the primary format in which artists consumed albums. It’s 10-12” in diameter and stands for “Long Play.” This is pretty self explanatory when you figure that it was a longer playing form of vinyl than the smaller, 7” singles of the time.

EP stands for “Extended Play,” and it entered the music scene as a competitor to LPs. It’s narrower grooves allowed artists to fit about seven and a half minutes of music on each side of the 7” disc.

Because of this, an EP could usually hold about four songs total and often served as compilations of singles and album samplers.

Though many artists released in this format, EPs didn’t fully take off until modern times. Nowadays, “EP” stands for a collection of music that isn’t large enough to merit being released as a full album.

Check out the video below for a more in depth look at what EP and LP stand for, as well as how to promote your music with them.

what does ep stand for in music
what does ep stand for in music

What Is an EP Used For?

Musicians release EPs for a variety of reasons, but they are most frequently used as promotional tools to grow a fan base. EPs often introduce new bands, keep interest in an artist alive between the release of full-length albums, or help promote a tour. Artists also use EPs as giveaways and incentives for joining mailing lists, or to help sell concert tickets.

  • EPs can be a solution for artists who want to release something more comprehensive than just one song but can’t afford the studio time necessary to record a full-length album—which usually contains about 10 to 12 songs.
  • Some musicians use EPs to experiment with a new music style or because they want to dabble in less commercial sounds than their full-length albums feature.
  • EPs are also sometimes used to release the B-side of a hit song, as well as unreleased tracks that were cut when the full-length album was recorded in the studio.

Distribution and Marketing

One option for distribution is using a publisher such as TuneCore, a New York-based independent digital music distribution, publishing, and licensing service. TuneCore’s benefit is that it gives musicians the tools they need to get their music out to the world, grow their fan base, and stay in control of their careers. The cost is about $20 per album. However, you don’t necessarily have to hire an outside distributor—not if you’re tech inclined.

Your Website

It may not be cutting-edge, but as long as your website is professional-looking (and you keep it updated), it’s a good place to upload your EP—especially if you direct fans to your site via your social media platforms.

Social Media

Social media platforms are key to any artist’s success and can easily be used to promote and market an EP. In addition to fans, music industry professionals and music bloggers constantly visit social media platforms. You can make use of all of your social media platforms—from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. Just be sure you engage fans by not being overly promotional, repetitive, or boring. Also, be conscious of search engines and include those important keywords and keyword phrases in your tags and place them at the start of your tag fields. Also, be sure to use adjectives that describe your music, especially if you’re experimenting with a new style or genre.


Last, but not least, don’t forget YouTube, the first successful music streaming site that has staying power and reaches millions of people around the world. Just make sure you have a professional-looking channel and cover image that links back to all of your social media platforms.

what does ep stand for in music
what does ep stand for in music

Your Artist Newsletter

While we’re a social media-driven culture, email is still vital. If you spend money on a good mailing list service provider (such as MailChimp), you can spread the word about your new EP release. With MailChimp, you can send up to 150,000 emails free per month, and after that, it will cost you about $1 to send out 1,000 more.

I hope you enjoyed this post “what does ep stand for in music”.

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