What Is a Single in Music? ( Single vs. EP )

This guide will answer what a Single in music is, the differences between a Single, EP, and Album, and other common questions.

What Is a Single in Music?

Singles are songs that are usually released independently of an album and are used to promote upcoming albums. There are fewer tracks on a single than an EP or LP, and singles are usually accompanied by a music video. A popular single is often played on the radio and appears on the music charts.

What Is a Single in Music
What Is a Single in Music

What Is A Single in Music?

A single is often a song that is released independently from an album; however, it may also be featured on an album. A single release in music is often a song recording with fewer tracks than an LP record or an album.

Singles can be made available to the general public through a variety of media formats. These are often music tracks from albums that have been released independently for promotional purposes, such as digital download or video distribution. In other circumstances, a track that was released as a single may not be included on an album.

Single, EP, & Album -What’s the Difference? – Source

A single is used to instigate hype and anticipation among music fans for an upcoming music album in many circumstances. Naturally, this means that the said single will be a part of the album.

A single is a music release featuring only one or two tracks in contemporary music marketing. However, singles featuring up to three classic tracks are also a thing. The world’s largest digital music retailer, the iTunes Store accepts up to three tracks of less than 10 minutes each as a single. Any musical release with more than three songs or thirty minutes of the total running time is considered an extended play (EP) or an album if longer than six tracks.

The concept of releasing singles is savored as identification and recognition of popular songs within a single album. Singles saw a proliferation in their popularity after the unveiling of Apple’s iTunes Store in January 2001.

This sired the creation of digital MP3 players like iPods and the birth of portable music.

In the past, the very first song on the single was referred to as the A-side, while the other songs on the single were referred to as the B-side. The practice of putting two recordings on a single disc dates back to the days of shellac and vinyl records when discs had two usable sides.

Recent compact disc singles may have many versions of the A- or B-side and an additional track by the same singer, and B-sides might be album cuts or tracks that have never been released commercially. The opportunity to have a new song released as an A-side sometimes sparks competitiveness among members of bands or composer teams.

What is the Difference Between a Single, an EP, and an Album?

In numerous countries, singles sales are reported in record charts in a Top 40 format. These charts are frequently featured in periodicals, and a variety of television and radio broadcasts count down the list. To be eligible to be included in the charts, the single must match the charting company’s rules, which generally restrict the number of tracks and total playing time of the single.

Singles have always been essential to musicians who sell to the youngest music customers (younger teenagers and pre-teens), who have more restricted financial means. Beginning in the mid-1960s, albums became a more prominent emphasis and more essential as artists made albums of consistently high quality and coherent ideas, a tendency that culminated in the birth of the concept album.

What Is the Difference Between A Single & An Album?

An album is a collection of music issued by a certain artist or band. It contains a number of songs, which are collectively referred to as an album. An album can encapsulate over 30 minutes of back-to-back music which can be a rhythmic mix by a DJ or up to six distinctive tracks by the same artist.

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In contrast, a single is a song that is separated from an album. It is frequently released before the entire album and serves as its premiere to entice the listeners. Singles are occasionally mentioned in the media because they are an important aspect of a soon-to-be-released album. They provide fans and audiences a taste of what to anticipate from the upcoming album. Essentially, singles contain no more than three songs that don’t exceed 10 minutes (each).

While talking about albums and singles, you might also come across another term when it comes to music releases – EP.

An EP is somewhere between an album and a single, and it packs four to six music releases with a total running time of less than or equal to 30 minutes.

Related: What is an EP? | What is an LP?

How Much Is A Single in Music?

Here are the prices of what it cost to buy a music single from an online store.


How Much Does It Cost To Produce A Single?

The cost of producing a single depends on how you want to produce or distribute it. You can do it for free, you can do it for $100, or you can do it for $100,000; the choice is yours. The cost of producing a single highly relies on the equipment, talent, and studios you’re going to use. Depending on who’s involved in your single-producing venture, a topline music producer can charge you $20,000-$30,000 for a few days of production.

If you’re going for a studio to produce your single, it depends on the hours you’d be utilizing the music studio to craft your masterpiece. For entire albums, it takes 60-100 hours in production; however, this depends on the artists’ capabilities.

The majority of studios now provide project-based recording rates. A single song may cost between $50 and $500, while a complete album could cost approximately $2000 on a project-by-project basis.

Why Do Artists Release Music Singles?

If released before the release of an album, singles are released to create hype and anticipation among music fans. This is done by perhaps throwing out the best music piece of the album before the album’s actual release. The most popular songs are increasingly being issued as singles rather than albums. By releasing a single, musicians may focus their efforts on a single song, increasing sales and chart recognition.

How To Release A Single | Avoid Failure

When you release music, you effectively open the door to connect with your audience. The more frequently you release songs, the faster you and your followers will become acquainted. By releasing singles, you may quickly build a dedicated fan following.

Sometimes, music artists choose to release singles after the albums. By doing so, the album’s exposure is extended over a longer period of time. Typically, singles are released alongside a music video, which means that after the album is out, individuals who loved the single featured in the video may step out and purchase the album.

Why Is A Song Called A Single?

A song can be referred to as a single when it is released in singularity. Unlike albums, singles are released individually and not as a collective compilation of many swoon-worthy tracks.

A single track is distinctive on its own and is not accompanied by other tracks or pieces of music. They are often released collectively with a music video that speaks about the theme, message, and the story the track is trying to tell.

Are Singles Better Than Albums?

Singles and albums both have arguments in their favor and against them. Usually, radio stations prefer to play singles rather than having to go through entire albums to find a song. Moreover, singles allow for more flexibility when it comes to music videos – you can release a music video as part and parcel of a single.

Furthermore, for obvious reasons, singles tend to be much cheaper and affordable than their counterparts, and they also allow you to put all your efforts into one single masterpiece.

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On the other hand, albums are great at offering rhythmic variety to your listeners. You can tell a whole story through your albums by showing them different aspects of your innovation. Releasing an album also means that your listeners have a greater variety to choose from; this helps in building a loyal fan base.

Do Only Singles Get Music Videos?

While it’s common to have music videos reserved only for singles, music videos for singles or a few tracks of albums or EPs are also a thing. However, the idea is not very common. When you consider the expense of producing a music video, it is impossible to create one for each song on an album.

It would be best if you kept in mind that many tracks on an album are not meant to be released as a single.

That’s not to suggest an artist doesn’t want you to listen to every song on an album; it’s just a matter of priorities when it comes to investing money on a music video.

Summary of Music Singles

A single is a song, typically released independently of an album, and is used to promote an upcoming album. A single has fewer tracks than an EP or LP, and singles are usually released with a music video. When a single becomes popular, it’s often played on the radio or put onto music charts.

I hope you now understand what a music single is and how they are used in music.

Mark V.

Written By Mark V.

Mark Valenzuela is a professional blogger, entrepreneur, and educator with more than 15 years of experience in music production. In 2008, Mark founded Hip Hop Makers, a top resource for aspiring music producers and beatmakers. He specializes in content on music production, software, gear, and free music resources. Committed to empowering creators of all levels, Mark continues to inspire and help music creators pursue their dreams.

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