Friday, July 28, 2017

EP is not a good format.

I just had a discussion with one of my artists around an EP and felt I have this conversation so many times that I should write about it.

So my artist has recorded three new songs and wanted to release it at the beginning of the autumn. Of course, recording of three songs has to do with limited time and resources. She doesn't have time to record a whole album and when she is in the studio is not worth it to record one song it’s more efficient to do three or four.

Back in the 80:s and 90:s this was the common reason for the EP. Mainly it was a budget thing. An album was too much but the artist had time and money to stay in the studio for a weekend and record a couple of songs.

In the 80:s you already had the single with two sides and also the bit longer format where you could put in 2 songs each side. So the EP was born as a marketing tool as we know it. Sometimes these EP:s was treated like real releases between albums so they could be stand alone sometimes. (to be clear sure it's EP:s before this, but they way we maket changed inthe 80:s)

In the 90:s they tried to experiment with it. There were several different packaging to support it. Still, a CD is 74 minutes so the format was not really that good, you left a lot of space on the format itself. The recording cost and time weight it up and you also saw that they loved to put in sing-along versions and remixes on to this ep:s. Making the EP many times five to six songs long even if it just where one original song there.

So the Ep format is still in the artist mind. It should have died in the 90:s but is still going on. And I see a lot of artist doing the ep format (not with remixes and stuff) on the distribution. But like I said to my artist the format sucks in the digital world.

Spotify doesn’t know albums is something that is told over and over again. And yes the digital era is really single driven. It’s not unusual to see an artist with 3 million streams on one song and the rest is under a hundred thousand. It’s THE song who gets the attention.

This affects the marketing. If you market an EP then it’s three up to six songs. Still the systems today are done so it will only listen to the first of these songs. Radio only takes one song and many of the blogs won’t review anything if it isn’t a whole album. So in practice even if you release five songs you actually only market one and the other four will be treated like nonexistent. You are wasting these songs. Also the marketing in the 80:s and 90:s where fast and was done over one week. Today’s marketing can be several months long for just one song.

The solution is to release all songs as singles. This makes the marketing can go for a longer period of time. Also, each song gets the shining it actually deserves. Then if a song fails you can easily get in with a new one faster. You can make them all go together by using similar artwork and videos to the songs so people see that they come from the same session. At the same time, you have more to write about on social media and keeping your brand alive. And with the consumer behavior, we see the singles are much better than an EP. The consumers look on one song but won’t explore the rest of the songs.

The Ep is really not any good it’s a format that should have been lost years ago. Only Time would be if you doing a vinyl in an ep format. Well, I'm not that keen on Vinyl but that is another story.


  1. Peter, the EP wasn't born in the 80:s.

  2. I was a bit unclear there, the marketing as we know it began there. It was around much earlier.