What is the meaning behind EP?

March 25, 2021

There are many different meanings behind EP, however, EP in the music industry stands for extended play. But what is an EP in music, and how can this relate to your new albums and music releases? In order to know this, we need to cover what EP stands for and how it relates to modern album release music.

What is an EP in Music?

To begin with, it’s important that we know what the EP definition is for the music industry. Indeed, there are many EP definitions, but the musical definition is as follows.

An EP, or extended play record, was traditionally a vinyl record that had a different playback speed to normal long playing (LP) records. Because of the different playback speed, EP records traditionally only had between 4 and 6 tracks on them, whereas a standard long play record would have 8 or more tracks – in other words, then, an EP can have as few as half the number of tracks on it as an LP track.

But what about in the modern world? Indeed, most of us – other than a few collectors of vinyl records – are now using albums instead. How does album EP work with releasing music on an album instead of a record?

Well, album EP actually works in a very similar way to the old vinyl records, and an EP album contains between 4 and 6 tracks instead of the larger number of tracks one might normally expect.

Why Make an Album EP Release?

So, we’ve clarified the question of, “what is an EP in music”. Simply put, an EP, or extended play album, is designed to contain fewer tracks than normal long play albums and records. But if this is the case, what is the point of an album EP, you might be wondering? If you’re thinking of releasing music, it’s important that you know why you might want to release music as part of an extended play album instead of a normal long play version.

The most obvious reason for new music producers releasing music to use an EP is as a demo – in other words, it’s a taster of your music. These albums can be used in many different ways for a new musician, as well as for established musicians. However, there are actually a few different reasons as to why people choose to use EPs. The most common uses for these albums are as shown:

•   Releasing music for the first time! If you’re a new musician just trying to get your foot into the music industry and trying to get deals with records, then an EP album can be a great way for you to get your music known. In this way, you can provide the record label with a good sample of your style and work and they can get to know whether you could be a good fit for their brand.

•  Trying out a new style! If you’re an established music producer but want to try a different style for your next release, then creating an EP could be a good route for you to take. Releasing music is tough at the best of times, especially if it’s a style you’re not normally known for; an EP can promote your new style to your customers and fans!

• Keep interest up between albums! Releasing an EP album can be a good way to keep your fans engaged while waiting for new songs to be released between albums. And after all – you need those said fans to purchase your album when it is fully released, meaning the importance of keeping their attention cannot be stressed highly enough.

•  Promotional tools! As well as being highly effective for musicians wanting to attract a new record label, extended play albums can also be highly effective ways to promote your new music! When releasing music to the public, it’s vital that you market your music so as to attract customers for your album. However, this can difficult – and hosting a giveaway for your music can be a great way to get around this. Giveaways are highly affordable forms of promotion and directly target those people who might be interested in your music and offering an EP album as a giveaway prize is also a highly cost effective way to reward people. Depending on the size of your budget, EP albums can also be given away for free to those signing up to mailing lists and the like, making them very useful marketing tools.

Benefits of Releasing Music as an EP

So, you want to release music? That’s great – and releasing your music as an EP can have many benefits. As well as being highly affordable options, as you don’t need such extensive studio time to record music for an EP, but they are also useful for promoting your content, providing a taster to record labels, keeping fans engaged, and even as a way of releasing B-sides or unreleased tracks.

Modern EP Use for Albums

Nowadays, with the popularity of music downloads and music streaming, extended plays have become a more common choice of marketing strategy for many musicians. In fact, Vanity Fair actually described modern EPs as “the next step in extending albums’ shelf lives, following the “deluxe” editions that populated stores during the past few holiday seasons—add a few tracks to the back end of an album and release one of them to radio, slap on a new coat of paint, and—voila!—a stocking stuffer is born." Indeed, they described how big artists including Ke$sha, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift have all used this strategy to keep hype for their new albums!

Final Thoughts

There are many potential benefits to using extended play albums for promoting your music; indeed, while the EP definition in music is more obviously explained in the context of old vinyl records, modern EPs still offer a huge number of benefits – and that’s why more and more big names in the music industry are choosing to use them, too!


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