What Does EP Stand for in Music?

Is the label EP staring right at your face when you search for your favorite artist on Spotify or YouTube? In this era, EP has probably become the most commonly used word in the music industry for releasing and listening to music.  Hence, a music enthusiast will come across EP at least once in his lifetime.

However, if you struggle to understand the word on encountering it, we are here to help. In this article, we will explain everything about EP. Also, we will give you all the reasons for recording an EP. So, read on to discover more about EP.

You can also read: How to Hold Drumsticks: Guide for Beginners

EP: Full Form and Meaning

Before delving any further, let us explain what EP means. EP is the contraction of the words Extended Play. EP lies somewhere between a single and an album. Therefore, many people call it a mini-album.

Emerging artists use an extended play these days to create awareness of their band. So, it is useful when one wishes to form a fanbase without getting into the complicated and costly process of releasing a full-fledged album.

Origin of EP

What Does EP Stand for in Music?
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In those days, musicians released their music on Vinyl, and Long Play (LP) was dominant in the music industry. However, in 1954, the situation changed when EMI published the first extended plays in Britain. After the release of the EP, it became a worthy opponent to LP. Previously, people used to play an extended play on 18 cm disks. Being able to contain two songs on each side, EP was the innovation for the music industry.


The Present Form of EP

What Does EP Stand for in Music?
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Gone are the days when people used to play music on disks. With the emergence of digital media, the release of EP has also changed its form. Musicians use CDs and online music platforms such as Spotify and iTunes to release extended plays.

Number of Songs in an EP

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There is no general rule to choosing the number of songs in an Ep.  However, if you look closely at the online music streaming platforms, you would notice that the average number lies among 4-6. Therefore, a compilation of 4-6 songs seems to be an ideal length for an extended play.

Now, anything that exceeds 30 minutes of completion time is an album. Therefore, if you put four songs in your album and the completion time is 40 minutes that would not be considered an extended play. Therefore, focus more on the length of the extended play than the number of songs in it.

How Should You Decide on the Number of Songs in an EP?

Stop your EP from becoming another mediocre playlist by deciding on the number of songs beforehand. Use the concept of album sequence to organize your EP. Mostly used for promotional purposes of a band, an EP should delineate your style at first listen.

If you plan on releasing an EP just as a demo for your album, you would want to keep it short. In that case, a maximum of 4 songs is ideal. However, if you are not using EP as a precursor to your upcoming album, you can keep six songs in your extended play.

An EP captures maximum attention from the listeners as it is short. Hence, your songs would be under talk. Therefore, you would want to pick music that would work in your favor.

When Should You Consider Releasing EPs?

There are many occasions when you might prefer releasing extended plays over albums. In this section, you will find a few situations when an EP becomes more convenient than an album.

1. When cost becomes an issue

Let us face it. Recording an entire album could be expensive. A new artist might face budget constraints while recording. That is, if you are an artist who is just stepping into the music world, you might not have all the funds available. That is when recording an extended plays would be a good option.

2. When you do not have enough followers

Now, you might have received accolades for your performances at school. However, when you start as a professional musician, it might not be the same. It is most likely that you would not have a fanbase or followers when you are just beginning.

It is hard to understand the preferences of people before entering the music industry for real. In the previous point, we have mentioned how expensive it can get to record an album. Therefore, if you cannot make an impression with your songs, you would have to incur the loss generated from this recording process. However, by releasing an extended plays, you might be able to save yourself from such situations.

3. When you need to keep more content coming

For instance, you created hype for your music with your first release and disappeared for months. What do you think will happen? Let us tell you. Your fans will end up forgetting you. That is why you need to keep your content coming. Since releasing an album requires more effort and time, you might choose extended plays to keep your fans entertained from time to time.

4. When you want to create a demand for your upcoming album

EP works similarly to the trailer of a movie. If your fans loved your extended play, chances are, they would love your album. Therefore, you can choose an extended play for promotional purposes.

Recommendations on Creating a Successful EP

Recommendations on Creating a Successful EP
Photo by: Feliphe Schiarolli
  •  Organize your tracks.
  • Focus on the packaging.
  • Include a variety of music
  • Do not compromise on quality in pursuit of quantity.


Although an EP is short, it can create a massive impact on your music career. However, that would depend on whether you could build it the right way. The purpose of this article was to enlighten you about extended plays. We hope this helps!

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