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:
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, 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…
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.
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!
Keep reading to see some of the best release tips and how to promote your EP before and after your release it!
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 misspelt 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.
An extra tip is to include ‘ – EP’ in the title. If iTunes considers your release an EP, but it doesn’t have EP in the title, iTunes will automatically add it!
It’s also important to stay consistent so it makes sense to do this yourself anyway across all streaming platforms. It also gives your audience a better idea of what to expect when they click on it.
When trying to grab someone’s attention, it’s often a good idea to show the best side of yourself first. When it comes to creating an EP, things are no different. I mean, you can put on songs you think people will like, but how can you be sure that they will?
Well, one solution is to remix one of your most popular songs and put it as the first track of your EP. If you know people already like the lyrics of the song for example, why not use those same lyrics but put them over a different backing track?
You can either use the exact same vocal file again or better yet, you could re-record the vocals to match that particular track. Alternatively, you can use a popular backing track of yours, and do all new vocals for it. However, remixing one of your songs may not be the best move depending on your style, so keep that in mind. Read more about remixing, the benefits and more here. Or, to access re-mixers and producers, check our global marketplace.
Interludes are small filler track, be it an instrumental section or a conversation between the band members, that can help the album flow well. It can be an incredible way to show a taster of your personality to the fans. You can use interludes very creatively depending on your style of music.
For example, if you are a melodic and mellow artist you could have an A Capella section showcasing your vocals. Or if you’re a rapper you could have a quick freestyle or even a funny conversation with a friend. While interludes are not essential, it can really work wonders for how people perceive your music. Make your music an experience!
Whether or not you press up a physical CD, you should always include a cover. On this cover, as well as your normal contact details, you should include a quick note asking people to do what you want done (Sign up to your list, share your CD etc).
Artwork is super important to any release, if you don’t know a good designer, we can help you out through our platform, you can join and create a project to receive pitches from top-notch designers matched to your budget and requirements, you can start here.
By calls to action, I mean trying to get people to do what it is you want them to do. Most often this is the thing that gives them value. You’ve made an EP to fulfil some aim, whether that raises awareness of your music, or to make money and increase the brand loyalty of your fans. Whatever your aim is and whatever you want your listeners to do next, you have got to let them know!
So say for example you’re going to be giving your EP out for free. You want to raise awareness of your music, and you want to get people signed up to your mailing list. So where should you include your calls to action?
So there you have it, some tips that will have your EP standing out from the crowd! Hopefully we’ve answered your question of what does EP mean in music.
For 10 more release tips have a look at this in-depth article dedicated to just that!
I hope you will take some of these tips on board. Anyone can make an EP using the standard methods. However, by doing the above, you will get lots more exposure and benefits from it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, if you are looking to connect and collaborate with like-minded Music Gateway members globally and work together, join Music Gateway and access our marketplace. And now you have your music out there, it’s time to start sending it to important people in the industry, finding opportunities and getting it into film, tv and more.
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