From Demo to EP: What Does EP Stand For and How Can It Help Music Artists?
As a music artist, you might have heard of the term EP before. However, if you’re not sure what it stands for or what it can do for your career, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about EPs, including their definition, advantages, and how to make one of your own.
What Is an EP?
An EP, or extended play, is a musical recording that is longer than a single but shorter than a full-length album. Typically, an EP contains three to six songs, while a full-length album can range from eight to over twenty tracks. EPs are often used as a means of sharing new music with fans or as a bridge between albums.
The term “extended play” was first introduced in the 1950s when vinyl records were the primary format for music releases. At that time, singles were often limited to one or two tracks and played at 45 RPM (revolutions per minute). EPs, however, were played at 33 1/3 RPM and could contain up to four or five tracks per side.
Today, the term “EP” is still used to describe a shorter release compared to an album. However, with the advent of digital streaming services, the concept of an EP has expanded. That is, artists can now release multiple singles over a period of time and eventually package them in an EP format.
Advantages of Releasing an EP
Now that you know what an EP is, let’s look at some of the advantages it can provide for music artists:
1. Build Buzz for Upcoming Album
If you’re working on a full-length album, releasing an EP beforehand can help build anticipation and buzz for your upcoming release. Fans will be excited to hear new music, and it can also serve as a way of testing out new sounds and styles without a major investment in time and money.
2. Showcase Your Range as an Artist
With fewer tracks to work with, making an EP provides an opportunity to showcase your range as an artist. You can experiment with different styles, sounds, and themes, which may not be feasible in a full-length album. In turn, this can attract new fans who might not have discovered you otherwise.
3. Increase Your Visibility on Streaming Platforms
Releasing an EP can also improve your visibility on major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. By releasing a concentrated burst of new music, your account will appear more active, and you may receive additional promotion from these platforms themselves.
How to Make an EP
So, how can you make an EP of your own? Here are the key steps involved:
1. Select Your Songs
The first step in creating an EP is to select the songs you want to include. As previously mentioned, EPs typically contain three to six tracks, so you’ll need to choose your best, most representative work. You’ll also want to consider the sequence of the songs and how they flow together.
2. Record Your Songs
Once you’ve selected your tracks, it’s time to record them. Depending on your resources, you may choose to record in a professional recording studio or in your home studio. You’ll also want to ensure your tracks are mixed and mastered to a level that is competitive with other artists in your genre.
3. Create Artwork and Packaging
While digital distribution is a growing trend, packaging and artwork can still play an important role in the release of an EP. You’ll want to create a design that reflects your music and branding, and which can be used both digitally and physically (if you choose to manufacture CDs or vinyl). This should include cover art, inner sleeve, and any additional materials such as lyrics or liner notes.
4. Distribute and Promote Your EP
Once your EP is complete, it’s time to distribute and promote it to your fans and potential new listeners. This can involve releasing the EP through digital distribution services like DistroKid or TuneCore, sharing it on social media, and reaching out to music bloggers for coverage.
In summary, an EP is an important component of a music artist’s arsenal. It can serve as a way of building buzz for a future album, showcasing your range as an artist, and increasing visibility on major streaming platforms. In making an EP, it’s important to select your songs carefully, record them to a high standard, create appropriate artwork and packaging, and promote it effectively. With these elements in place, your EP can act as a powerful tool in advancing your music career.