Meaning of LP in Music

I have been a music junkie pretty much my entire life. Often, I would research different terminologies that dominate the landscape of music. Million years ago, I came across the term ‘LP’.

That is when I dug deeper to know more about the subject. If you feel lost as I did back then, hold on. In this article, I am going to dissect the word and tell you about its meaning, uses, and history. This article will also be helpful for those who wish to release LPs shortly.

What is LP?

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LP is simply an abbreviation of the words ‘Long Play’. When you type LP in Google, you would often find a recommendation to look at the meaning of the album in Wikipedia. That is because the word ‘album’ is used as a substitution to LP sometimes. This means that there is technically no difference between the two words.

Therefore, you do need to tire yourself while understanding the difference. So, from this point, I am going to define LP as a full-length album that exists as a vinyl record format. Hence, you can guess that LP came into existence a long time back. 

How Does LP Work? 

What does lp mean in music ?These days, we have plenty of media available for listening to music. However, in earlier days, people used to rely heavily on vinyl records which are why LP used to be released as a vinyl record format. LP was created as a vinyl format in 1948 and gained massive popularity in 1990.

However, musicians started producing LPs in Cassette tapes and CDs as a replacement for vinyl soon. Therefore, the term LP was no longer used as a record format. Rather, it referred to the length of an album.

The circumference of an LP was 12 inch and the speed was 33.3 RPMs. So, an LP consisted of 12 songs that had approximately 45 minutes of completion time. If a musician wished, he could put more songs on both sides of the record.

However, that would bring a reduction in the quality of music, thanks to online music streaming platforms that exempt musicians from such limitations. 

Number of Songs in LP

Whenever the term LP comes up, people naturally think of EP. EP or extended play exists as a competitor to LP. You consume maximum music in the form of either EP or LP.

Now, every musician in their lifetime trade-off one with the other based on their specific circumstances. LPs are usually longer than both singles and EPs. To get the label of an album, the record must consist of 7 or more songs. Since music today is not limited to vinyl, musicians may choose to release more tracks.

Unlike EPs, full-length albums do not need to adhere strictly to the rules of duration. If you are a musician you need to understand the desire of your followers before deciding on the number of tracks.

If this is your first album, you can always lessen the number of tracks. That is, you can just release 7 tracks in your album. However, if you are going for a CD release, you should release at least 12 songs.

Adopt a powerful release strategy for a successful album. Add intro, skits, or whatever you like to make your album as worth-it as possible. Lastly, do not overdo it. Realize when to tone down the effects. 

LP vs. EP

Many musicians may choose EP as an alternative to LP due to its affordability and convenience. Also, it may seem like a less risky option for a new artist. Whether you choose LP or EP, you might need to invest more in marketing and promotion. Therefore, even if you are investing less in the recording process, you might have to invest in these areas. So, EP is not as cheap.

On the other hand, if you have already gained a strong fanbase with your EP releases, you should opt for an album. EPs are a short glimpse of your music capacities that would not be able to satisfy the needs of your fans.

Hence, you need to go for an album to create a lasting impression. Apart from this, when it comes to risk, EP is no less risky than LP.

While releasing an EP, you might need to pick 4 songs that would offer you a fanbase. A wrong pick of songs would pose the same risk as recording an entire album and not succeeding.

Why is LP important? 

EPs are usually haphazard in manner. Therefore, it does not reflect anything about the artist’s personality. As a music listener, would you not want to figure out the personality of the artist? I am sure you would.

Therefore, you need to create the same feeling for your fans. An album is able to do that as it is a reflection of your taste, aura, and choice. Based on this, your listeners would know how organized you are.

Moreover, if you can sell an album as an experience, you accumulate your fans for a lifetime. The main advantage of a full-length album is the profitability that comes from its numerous sales. If you can make a good album, it would last for weeks on top charts.

The physical copies, downloads, and stream of your album would work positively in bringing massive popularity to your door. Also, your album would receive a Gold and Platinum depending on the craze. Hence, you can guess the impact of an album on your life.  

Final Thoughts


To be a musician, you need to understand all the different formats of release before picking one from there. Therefore, you could check our section on the differences between EP and LP where we have provided all the information you need to decide for your release. So, do not forget to check that section. However, if you are only interested in LPs, this article would be enough for you to know what does lp mean in music.

You May Also Read: EP vs LP vs Album: A Definitive Guide

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