No one agrees what an EP is, but artists should release more of them

Our post of Ditto Music’s “Guide to releasing music in 2022: Albums vs EPs vs Singles,” was the subject of a major segment on this week’s Your Morning Coffee Podcast.

Ditto’s Guide it really worth your time as is Jay Gilbert and Mike Etchart’s smart discussion other the piece on the Your Morning Coffee Podcast,

One takeaway from the deep dive was that no one can agree on exactly what an EP is. “Ask three people what the definition of an EP and album are, you get three different answers!” one music exec told Hypebot.

The Ditto piece defines an EP (Extended Play) as “a half-length body of work, features between 4-6 tracks and has a running time of roughly 15-22 mins (but can be up to 30 minutes).”

But Luminate whose brands in MRC, Connect, and Soundscan which Billboard and others use to compile their charts does not differentiate between an album and an EP.

From Luminate:

  • “An EP will be classified in our system as an album.”
  • “For a release to be considered as an album, it must have at least four distinct songs. Run time is not a criteria.”
  • “A release will be considered a single if it has one, two or three distinct songs. Again, run time is not a criteria. For example, a release may have 10 different remixes of one song. That would be considered a Single.”
  • “There may be exceptions, such as a one song release that has a long duration but that is usually priced as an album and Billboard makes those decisions.”

Does it matter?

What is or is not an EP only matters if you still care about charts,

What does matter in 2022 is frequency.

An EP is a vehicle to release, market, and sometimes sell music more frequently than the usual album release cycle. That not only matters in a world of short fan attention spans but streaming and social algorithms like frequency. In fact, they usually reward it.

So compile those three or four tracks into an EP, consider adding something new, and release it tomorrow. OK, maybe you should wait a few weeks so you have time to create and execute a marketing plan.

To quote a mentor, “Only players win.”


Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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