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What Does EP Stand For In Music

What Does EP Stand For? Differences Of Album Labels Explained

You may be browsing for songs online on Soundcloud or Spotify, and you start to notice terms like EP, single, or album being used around. You may even be interested to know them in detail, which is probably why you are here. What does EP stand for in music?

EP stands for Extended Play. It is a form of music production containing more songs than a single but less than a full album. It typically contains around 4-6 songs, with a total track time of around 30-minutes. EPs are usually made to introduce an artist to listeners and record labels. However, some artists release EPs to experiment as well.

In this post, we discuss more EPs, such as what they stand for, how EPs are different from albums and singles, and why artists publish EPs. We also look at how you can promote your own EP.

What Is The Difference Between EP, Full Album, and Singles?

In general, EP, full albums, and singles differ in length, tracks, track length, production cost, and selling cost. EPs are also generally published with intentions different from singles or full albums. 

Areas Single EP Full Album
Total Length Usually 3-6 minutes Generally under 30 minutes No limitation
Tracks 1 Generally 4-6 Generally 10-20
Track Length Generally 3-6 minutes Generally between 2-10 minutes Generally between 2-10 minutes
Cost Low Medium High
Selling Price Low, sometimes free Low, sometimes free High
  • Introduction
  • Staying in the scene
  • Introduction
  • Sample for recording labels
  • Experiment
  • Full access to listeners
  • Money making ventures

Total Length

In general, singles are single songs, which means they are around three to six minutes long. There are, however, singles with songs longer and shorter than that. EPs generally have more songs, which means their total track length will be longer, but generally do not exceed 30 minutes. Full albums contain many more tracks, meaning their total length may exceed 1 hour. 


Tracks are also known as songs. Single is a single song, which means there is only 1 track. EPs tend to have around 3-6 tracks, although there may be EPs with less or more. Albums tend to contain around 10-20 tracks, as it is a full showcase of the artist’s musical repertoire.  

Track Length

Singles is a single song, generally around three to six minutes, although exceptions occur. For EPs, tracks can be as short as two to three minutes and as long as ten minutes or more. For full albums, artists have produced tracks as short as a few seconds to super long tracks that may be as long as 30 minutes


Of a single, an EP, and a full album, a single costs the least to produce. An EP may cost more simply because you produce several more tracks, which means more work, time, and money. Full albums are the most expensive; artists usually go all out to ensure the best sound and quality.

Selling Price

Singles and EPs are commonly given out for free or sold at an affordable price. The low selling price is made possible by the low production cost, and artists usually use singles and EPs to promote themselves rather than make money. Albums tend to be sold at a much higher price as it is the place the artist makes money for him or herself and her record label.


Singles and EPs are commonly released to introduce themselves to listeners. Singles are sometimes released to remind listeners that the artists are still around and producing works. EPs can be produced to give listeners a better introduction and record labels about their style and sound since it has more tracks. Albums are a full display of the artist’s repertoire and are usually the epitome of music production.

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Why Do Artists Publish EPs?

Artists publish EPs for many reasons. Newer artists publish EPs to introduce themselves to listeners and record labels. In contrast, more established artists may release EPs to remind listeners that they are still active. EPs also cost less to produce and allow artists to experiment with sounds easily.

Introducing Themselves

For many aspiring artists working on building a fan base, they may not need to work on a full album. Full albums will be hard to sell and be profitable for new artists. They are not popular yet, and listeners may not spend much money trying to buy their full album. 

 As such, they turn to produce EPs as a way to introduce themselves to the listeners. EPs are cheaper to produce and can be sold at a lower price. This means listeners are more likely to be persuaded to purchase EPs from artists they do not know. This helps the artists to grow and build a larger fan base. 

EPs can also be produced to introduce an artist’s style clearer. EPs may be important for record labels or producers as well. Often record labels and producers need more tracks from the artist to determine the sound and style better before they can decide to sign the artist or not. A single may not be enough, and an album may be overkill. Hence, an EP.

Remain Relevant In the Market

Albums take a long time to produce and may take years for some artists. As they produce the album, they may be drowned out by newer artists, and their listeners may be pulled away to listen to works from other artists. 

To avoid being ‘forgotten’ by their listeners, some artists release EPs to remind them that they are still active and producing works. EPs are easier to produce since they take fewer tracks, making them perfect for this purpose. 

Lower Cost

EPs are lower in cost compared to a full album. This makes it very suitable for aspiring artists who may lack funds to produce a full album yet need more than a single to introduce themselves better to listeners out there. 

EPs are also a low-cost way to give potential record labels and producers a chance to better listen and determine the artists’ style. It may be hard to convince these people to invest and help the artist create a full album if they only have a single track.

Easier To Experiment

Artists also sometimes publish EPs to experiment with a new sound concept to see if it will be accepted by their current fan base. 

For example, an established country artist may want to experiment with some hip-hop sounds but are unsure if the listeners would like it. So he makes an EP and releases it for free or at a low price to judge market acceptance. 

The artist may consider producing a full album if the market likes it. Still, if the market does not like it, then he can always at least have the satisfaction that he has tried.

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How To Promote Your EP?

Depending on your budget and commitment, you may promote your EP in multiple ways. Start by creating a press kit, and decide on a release date. Once you have both, you can use them when planning a release show and a listening party. You can also submit your work to as many online platforms as possible.

Create A Press Kit

A press kit contains all the information about you as an artist, style, and profile. It also contains the concept, thinking, and things about your EP. 

A press kit serves as a one-stop shop for the media to know more about you as an artist and your work. A press kit can be in a PDF document in a booklet form. It may be very useful to showcase how serious you are as an artist and to convince blogs, websites, and media owners to promote you and your work. 

Set A Release Date

Once you have a press kit, work on deciding on a release date. This is because your promotional work may depend on your release date. Without it, it may be hard to plan many things ahead. Release dates are commonly done on Friday, although you do not need to follow this convention. 

Plan A Release Show

If you have a following and a fanbase, you can always try to contact a venue and see if they are willing to host your show. Of course, pick a place you are confident to pack and go from there. Play your songs, and then countdown to release (which is why you need to set the release date), and your fans should be thronging to get themselves a copy of your EP.

Open For Other Artists

If you seek to be more proactive in promoting your EP, you can ask around town for other artists and see if you can open for their show. You play as an opener to hype up the crowd before the main artist comes out to play. This puts you in front of an audience, allowing you to promote your EP.

Listening Party

You can also host a listening party, where people can either hang out at a venue or online, listen to the tracks, and discuss with each other about the tracks. It can also be a way to introduce yourself to newer listeners and hopefully convince them to purchase your EP. 

Submit To Online Platforms

In the age of streaming, it goes without saying you need to promote your work using online platforms. 

As a start, submit your work to platforms such as Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Audiomack, Bandcamp, or NoiseTrade. Listeners often actively seek out new artists on these platforms, which may benefit you.

YouTube may also work, although uploading there basically means you will probably release your EP for free. 

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