DesiHipHop.com aims to push forward the Hip-Hop culture in South Asia. For this, it is very crucial to make the artists aware of the general things every musician who aspires to sell his or her music should be aware of. DesiHipHop’s Music 101 aims at doing just that! This series will give our readers information about how the music industry works, and what are it’s most common factors. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Every now and then, you hear terms that sound similar but confuses you completely. In fact, we’re sure that you might have heard about an EP and a LP. Many might not know the difference between these two.
EP | Extended Play | Extended Single
As a matter of fact, the terms “EP” and “LP” originated in the era of vinyl records. The term “EP” is used to describe a release which is two to five songs long. Its usually half of an album in terms of length and is often called as a “Mini Album”. But this is not what exactly an “EP” means. An “EP” stands for an Extended Play vinyl record. As mentioned above, an “EP” contains anywhere from a single to five tracks but not as much as an album. An extended play is often used for an extended/lengthy single. In other words, its a single which is longer than a usual single’s length.
“It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187um Killa” was N.W.A. member Eazy-E’s 2nd EP and was a response to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. This is the image of the EP record released by Ruthless Records.
Initially, the use of this term was restricted for a vinyl record. It was strictly standard 78 rpm. These days, you might hear the term “EP” with a digital release or a Compact Disc release. It is often said that the release of over ten songs is considered as an album but exceptions always prevail. There are plenty of artists who have released several albums that had under ten tracks but an average album is considered to have more than ten songs.
LP | Long Playing
An “LP” refers to Long Playing. Introduction of CDs gave birth to the digital format of sound which is not a favourite of people who’ve grown up listening to the analog sounds of a vinyl. In fact, it is strictly referred to a 33 1/3 rpm micro-groove vinyl record. However, if you’re under 25 right now, the only picture that you might have of a vinyl record in your mind is likely to be of a LP. Their demand went down but luckily its market is on the rise again. Recently, Tyler The Creator’s album Flower Boy was released as limited edition vinyl records.
Each side of a long playing vinyl record has 40 minutes of playback time. The audio quality gets dull after 23-25 minutes of playback and this is the reason that you don’t see a 70-minute long album on a “LP” vinyl record. The maximum and the best quality that a long playing vinyl record can last up to is 12-14 songs. CDs changed the market of “LP” vinyl records but they are basically a full-length album that you can now find in digital audio format.
Summary of today’s Music 101 –
1. An “EP” is also known as Extended Play or an Extended Single.
2. An “EP” is usually half in length if compared with a full length album and is often referred to as a “Mini Album”
3. A release that has a single to five songs falls under the category of an “EP”.
4. A “LP” vinyl record is also known as Long-Playing. Its basically used for a full-length album.
5. A “LP” vinyl record is specifically a 33 1/3 rpm micro-groove vinyl record.
6. Each side of a long playing vinyl record has 40 minutes of playback time.
When the vinyl records had a popular market, EPs were used to distribute promotional recordings. Singles, remixes, bonus tracks and demos were initially released on EPs to save up some space on the album. Ever since CDs came out, bonus tracks became a common phenomena because of the availability of space on the disc. Sometimes an EP was handed over to the fans as free demos so that they can buy the LP later.
An artist should know the difference and the similarities between these two terminologies to market their product wisely. If your popularity is not that much but you want to experiment, EPs are the right choice. Streaming platforms are affecting the sales of physically distributed copies. Choose the right tool for the right market.