What is An EP in Music? An Essential Guide

Here is a simple guide explaining what is an EP, what it is used for, and other common questions.

An EP, short for Extended Play, is a shorter music album with 2 to 9 songs and is usually under 30 minutes in length. EPs tend to be more concise mini albums with a much smaller price tag.

What is An EP in Music
What is An EP in Music

What Is an EP?

An EP is a short studio album usually around 2 to 9 songs long. It can also refer to any other type of extended-length recording that isn’t necessarily meant as a standalone project.

The term “EP” has been used in various ways in the music industry, but today we use it most often when referring to albums with fewer than 10 tracks.

In some cases, an EP may contain only three or four songs, while others might have seven or even nine.

Some EPs are made specifically for radio play; these tend to be shorter than typical EPs, typically lasting no longer than two or three minutes per track.

In this case, the EP will likely include at least one single, though not always. 

While there is no official definition of what constitutes an EP, many people consider anything under ten songs to fall into this category.

The first use of “EP” came from vinyl records where EPs could hold up to eight tracks. This meant that artists would have more room to fill out their record collections.


Why Do Artist Create EP Albums?

There are two primary reasons that people release EPs: firstly, they want to get their music out faster.

If you’ve got a band and you don’t really know where your sound fits yet, releasing an EP gives you a chance to test the waters before committing yourself to make a full-length album.

Secondly, EPs give you a way to try different styles without having to commit to a whole project. You could put together a collection of songs that all fit within the same genre, or you could mix up genres by putting together a bunch of songs that aren’t related musically.

You can do whatever you like! The point is just to experiment and see if something sticks. If it does, then great, keep going.

If it doesn’t, you still learned a lot about how to write good songs.

Related: 10 Free Album Name Generators For Title Ideas


What Is an EP Used For?

An extended play can be used as a way to promote new material from artists who don’t have enough time to release their entire body of work at once.

It’s also useful when you want to give your fans something extra without having to spend too much money on it.

If you’re looking to get more exposure for yourself, then creating an EP might help you reach people who wouldn’t normally listen to what you do.

You could also choose to make an EP if you want to try out different styles of music before releasing them all together on a larger project. You could put out several smaller projects instead of waiting until you’ve finished everything else first. This would allow you to test out different ideas and see how they sound before committing to making a whole album.


Examples of EP Albums

Drake - Scary Hours EP
Drake – Scary Hours EP

Here are a couple of examples of music artists who have released EP albums, to get an idea of the number of songs they included in their EP albums. 

  • Drake
    • The Best in the World Pack ( 2 Songs )
    • So Far Gone ( 7 Songs )
  • Meek Mill
    • 4/4 ( 4 Songs )
    • Legends of the Summer (EP) ( 4 Songs )
  • Megan Thee Stallion. – Suga (EP) ( 9 Songs )
  • Lil Nas X  – 7 ( 8 Songs )
  • Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel ( 9 Songs )
  • Blu and Nottz – Gods in the Spirit ( 6 Songs )
  • Adele – iTunes Festival: London 2011 ( 6 songs )
  • Bruno Mars – The Grenade Sessions – EP ( 5 songs )
  • Bruno Mars – It’s Better If You Don’t Understand ( 4 songs )
  • Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory (EP) ( 6 songs )

How Many Songs Are in An EP?

There are no hard rules about this but most EPs tend to contain around 3 to 9 songs. 

When choosing which songs to include on your EP, try not to go over 9 songs unless they’re really good ones. You don’t need to worry about having too little either though; just remember that less is often better.

If you decide to make your own EP, there are plenty of ways to choose which songs to put on it.

Some popular methods include picking out the best songs from each of your previous albums, selecting songs based on how similar they sound to each other, or simply making sure every track has its own unique quality.

So an EP can have anywhere from 3 to 9 tracks. It depends entirely upon how they’re arranged. But generally speaking, if there are fewer than 9 tracks then it’s considered an EP, otherwise, it’s not.


Why Release Shorter Albums?

There are several reasons why musicians choose to make shorter releases instead of full-fledged studio albums.

1) Keep Costs Down – A lot of bands don’t like spending money on expensive studios. So they can save money by releasing smaller projects. 

2) Release Something New Quickly – It can be easier to release smaller projects instead of creating full-length albums.

3) Give Fans a Taste of Things to Come – Sometimes, artists decide to release a song or two ahead of schedule so they can gauge fan reaction. Or maybe they want to see which direction their sound takes after hearing certain parts of it.

 4) Experiment – Maybe you’re trying out different sounds or styles to find out what works best for you or your band. By experimenting with different approaches, you can figure out exactly what kind of artist you want to become.

5) Create Hype – Some music artists prefer to release singles early so they can build anticipation for upcoming music projects. Others do it simply because they love making catchy tunes! Building hype can help get more new listeners and help get your music heard.

6) Promotion – It’s best to work on releasing new music projects to stay relevant in the mind of fans. It’s best to release digital music on all streaming platforms including Apple Music, Tidal, Spotify ( Playlists ), YouTube, etc.

Those are just a couple of reasons why releasing an EP is beneficial. 


What Are The Maximum And Minimum Track Lengths?

There are no rules when it comes to track lengths but there are some guidelines. Generally speaking, most musicians stick to around 3 minutes per song. If you’re looking to release an EP then you’ll need to keep these limits in mind.


Album vs EP

An album is an artistic work, usually recorded by one or more artists and released in its entirety on one disc. An EP is typically shorter than an LP with fewer songs and may be released as part of a larger project such as a compilation CD or box set.

The term “EP” can also refer to any number of short releases from different bands. In some cases, EPs are considered singles while others are not.


Summary

EP stands for Extended Play. An EP is a short music album with 2 to 9 songs that is under 30 minutes in play length. EP albums are much shorter than the traditional LP album.

An extended play can be used as a way to promote new material from artists who don’t have enough time to release their entire body of work at once.

It’s also useful when you want to give your fans something extra without having to spend too much money on it.

An EP album can be a digital download, CD, or physical record.

If you’re looking to get more exposure for yourself, then creating an EP might help you reach people who wouldn’t normally listen to what you do.

We hope you found this info on what is an EP album helpful.

If we missed anything, please let us know in the comments.

Mark V. at Hip Hop Makers

Written By Mark V.

Hip Hop Makers is a music production website that launched in 2008 to teach music lovers how to make music, sell beats, and make money from music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *