what is the difference between an ep and an lp

what is the difference between an ep and an lp


Understanding the distinction between an EP and an LP in depth means digging into the historical past of the music business a bit. It is actually fairly attention-grabbing, and we’ll try this however first I will reply the questions outright.

As a fan or curious searcher, you need the fast reply. As anybody concerned within the music business, you are going to wish to know the total particulars, as a result of selecting to launch an EP (a brief album, mainly) versus an LP (a full album) has the whole lot to do along with your price range, your advertising and marketing, and maximizing your income.

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Let’s get previous the floor degree stuff first so we’re all on the identical web page, after which we’ll discuss concerning the nitty gritty and how one can benefit from these two codecs. EP’s exist for a really tactical cause now, however it began with vinyl information…

EP length vs LP length

What’s an LP?

LP stands for Lengthy Play. Previously it was synonymous with the standardized 12-inch diameter phonographic report performed at a pace of 33.3 RPM’s. Right this moment it merely refers to a full-length album, the time length of which is various broadly as a result of rise of the patron digital audio format.

How Lengthy is an LP?

Previously, we might match round 15 to 22 minutes of top quality audio per aspect of a 12-inch vinyl report performed at 33 RPM’s. That meant a full LP album would vary from 30 to 44 minutes in length. We continued to comply with this typical LP size format with analog cassette tapes and compact discs.

This typically meant an LP was round 10 to 12 songs round 3 to three.5 minutes in size, with the total album starting from 30 to 44 minutes in length. This grew to become a snug and anticipated expertise for artists to meet.

In at present’s digital age the time limitation is slowly being disregarded. Many artists are releasing albums of accelerating size whereas others are choosing shorter ones. Some are releasing solely singles, as typically seen is the digital style. The thought of a selected variety of tracks is already fully discarded.

What’s an EP?

EP stands for Prolonged Play. Previously and current, the label signifies the discharge of a “mini-album,” one that’s longer than a single however, usually, about half the size of a full LP album. There are a number of causes artists go for this format at occasions, together with price range, advertising and marketing, and interesting to present, die-hard followers.

How Lengthy is an EP?

The same old EP size up to now was largely based mostly on the variety of tracks, falling within the vary of three to six songs on the observe record. This often meant the EP’s length landed round 15 to 22 minutes. Within the current that point vary and music depend on the playlist can fluctuate broadly, as we’ll talk about under.

Even within the current, although there are outliers, the overall expectation appears to stay that an EP’s size is in between 3 to six tracks and 15 to half-hour lengthy. The main focus is much less on the size and extra on the aim of the discharge.

EP vs. LP – Summarized

To supply a fast recap:

  • LP in music means Lengthy Play and is a full size album.
  • EP in music means Prolonged Play and is a half size album.
  • EP is prolonged within the sense that it is longer than a single.

That is the very normal reply, and although there are extra particulars, that is all that actually issues for an important a part of the dialogue under, which is the way to exploit these codecs to additional your music profession.

The Historical past of the LP & EP

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As acknowledged earlier, the LP was synonymous with the total size album on the 12-inch vinyl report medium. The LP was launched in 1948 by Columbia and shortly grew to become the usual for all the business.

The EP took place as a competing vinyl report format (and wasn’t based mostly on the play size initially). It was launched by RCA Victor in 1952 as a 10-inch format meant to be performed at 45 RPM’s, holding round 7.5 minutes of audio on both sides. Corporations started utilizing it to distribute compilations of singles and album samplers as nicely.

Because of the skill for report gamers to make use of completely different speeds and the success of 28 Elvis Presley EP albums, Walt Disney soundtracks, and classical music albums, the EP report gained a foothold and remained well-liked at the same time as cassette tapes and CD’s grew to become launched.

What’s essential to notice is, though the LP & EP had been based mostly on the bodily medium of vinyl report diameters and playback speeds, the labels slowly got here to indicate time size and observe numbers. However even then bands had been already bucking the inventive limitations.


For instance, the progressive rock band Sure launched their album Near the Edge. It contained solely three songs. So is it an EP? Properly, the primary observe is over 18 minutes and took up a complete aspect. The whole play time is 36 minutes and 25 seconds and required each side of a full-size LP. This conundrum continues to come up, which we’ll speak about subsequent.

5 Methods Artists Use EP Albums Right this moment

The actual query is why do artists and labels launch an EP album in any respect? Let’s talk about a handful of official causes, ones you could benefit from your self.

1) Sustaining a Launch Schedule

Rising a fan base is essential, however so is sustaining and interesting the followers you have already accrued. A technique to do this is to have a predictable and dependable launch schedule for brand spanking new music. Typically chances are you’ll not have sufficient materials prepared or wish to appease followers by utilizing “B-side” songs.

You possibly can market these releases to your enthusiastic followers with out risking exposing new followers to materials that does not characterize your greatest efforts. They’re cheaper to report, produce, and promote to your target market. This retains your fan base engaged till your subsequent huge album comes out and you start your subsequent tour.

2) Fulfilling an Undesirable Contract

There have been instances the place artists signal a, for instance, three album cope with a report label. For no matter cause, issues aren’t figuring out and also you wish to escape the contract. You possibly can launch EP’s as a method of fulfilling your aspect of the deal.

That often means new music, however in some instances it may be a single and a set of remixes that different artists create. It may possibly imply a “Better of” compilation, acoustic variations of your hottest songs, or every other inventive means to flee the contract with out sullying your discography.

3) Utilizing the Format as a Pre-Studio Launch

Rappers do that, however they name them mixtapes as a substitute. The thought is you could go forward and create music and merchandise to promote to followers and use for promotion, and sooner or later they’re going to be thought of unbiased releases and regarded as separate out of your debut studio album.

A giant a part of advertising and marketing is having a string of profitable studio albums. So having the ability to be inventive and supply current followers with new music within the EP format means that you can keep your spectacular report for under producing hits all whereas nonetheless having fun with an enormous output.

Rappers will create tons of mixtapes and take the most effective songs of these and recreate them so as to use them on their studio albums. It is a good way to check out what the fan base is having fun with earlier than spending the advertising and marketing cash and costly studio time on making an attempt to achieve new followers.

4) Permitting it to Act as a Cease Hole Between Massive Albums

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You will snigger, however the masters of doing this are the Insane Clown Posse. Between each main album, which has a theme and will virtually be known as an idea album (their whole discography is an idea!), they’re going to launch an EP that introduces the subject of the following huge launch.

It permits them to evolve musically, slowly introducing followers to the brand new sound and adjusting their expectations. It additionally retains the raving fan base joyful and excited. This may be new music, chopping room flooring tracks that did not make it on the earlier huge album, or anything.

5) Releasing Music That’s Nice However Did not Match the Theme

Albums have sonic traits and emotional themes often. Typically you write and report superb songs that should be heard however do not match in your subsequent huge undertaking thematically. An effective way to launch them is thru the EP format.

One other instance of Tech N9ne, who is known for “by no means losing a music.” He says that he releases each music he ever information, and in case you take a look at his discography you will imagine it based mostly on his monumental output. A lot of this consists of EP’s that exist given that they did not match on the earlier albums.

What Qualifies as an EP in Music Distribution?

Now that you understand why you may launch a “mini-LP” or EP, you have to perceive what qualifies nowadays in the case of on-line music distribution. I am particularly speaking about platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, and the numerous others.

apple music and spotify requirements for what is an EP

Let’s give attention to the massive two: Spotify and Apple Music. The explanation this issues is as a result of Apple Music will really add the “EP” label to your launch in case you meet their circumstances, even in case you did not need it. Spotify will place your launch down on the backside underneath “EP’s & Singles” relatively than underneath “Albums.” So that you wish to be very cautious right here, relying in your targets.

In Apple Music:

In case your album meets both of the next necessities, will probably be thought of an EP:

  1. The discharge contains 1 to three tracks complete, a number of tracks are equal to or exceed 10 minutes in size, and all the launch is underneath half-hour in length.
  2. The discharge contains 4 to six tracks and all the launch is underneath half-hour in length.

Once more, your album will routinely have “-EP” added to the title in case you meet these circumstances.

In Spotify:

Your launch will probably be categorized underneath the EP class if each of the next circumstances are met:

  1. The discharge is lower than half-hour in length.
  2. The discharge has 4 to six tracks in complete.

Your album title won’t be modified, however will probably be positioned within the separate “EP’s & Singles” class under the “Albums” class.

So What’s an LP Album & What’s an EP Album?

Who cares! At this level (apart from the necessities laid out by the digital music platforms) the cut-off dates and observe quantity counts do not actually matter. Kanye West simply launched a number of albums that might be known as EP’s however aren’t. Artists are thrusting off the constraints and letting creativity reign supreme.

I recommend utilizing the nomenclature of an EP as a tactical advertising and marketing technique. Use it to maintain your “studio album” discography pristine and ideal. Launch something not meant to be a fundamental album as an EP or compilation so you’ll be able to maintain feeding your followers what they need, so when your subsequent huge LP comes out they nonetheless care about you and are available to see you on tour.

The reality is these definitions are continually in flux and have been altering almost each decade for the reason that vinyl report was invented. I might fear much less concerning the technical points and concern myself extra with how I can use it in my music advertising and marketing plan. And that is the present distinction between an EP & LP. It is changing into extra blurry each day.

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Jared H.

Jared has surpassed his twentieth yr within the music business. He acts as proprietor, editor, lead creator, and net designer of LedgerNote, in addition to co-author on all articles. He has launched 4 unbiased albums and merchandise to international gross sales. He has additionally blended, mastered, & recorded for numerous unbiased artists. Be taught extra about Jared & The LN Crew right here. However Wait, There’s Extra!

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