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A Guide to Releasing Music in 2022: Albums Vs. EPs Vs. Singles

Music releases used to be so straightforward. You’d release some singles to generate some buzz. Perhaps an EP for something a little more substantial. Then move to an album to leave a lasting impression. Singles were mostly used to promote the album. Things are much more complicated nowadays. The playing field has shifted dramatically as digital streaming gains traction in the modern music industry; music is now consumed in a predictable, regulated, and much less linear manner.

The power used to be held by radio stations and record companies; now, it is held by streaming platforms, their algorithms, and editorial staff. So, how should you approach your music release strategy in this day and age? Here is a guide to releasing music in 2022- Albums vs. Eps vs. Singles.

What is a Single?

This is a music release with fewer tracks than an EP or album. It frequently refers to a single song that is released independently of an EP or album but may later appear on that EP or album. In today’s age of music downloading, however, a single might contain about three tracks. Because of the popularity of streaming platforms, musicians can now release each of their tracks separately. Nonetheless, the term “single” is reserved for a more actively publicized and hence commercially successful song, which is often used for marketing the musician’s next EP or album that includes the song.

When Should a Single be Released?

Besides singles being used as a vital promotional instrument for established artists, a single can also be used as an entry into the music industry. Generally, a single is the first recording released by a new yet unknown artist with its aim to leave a musical footprint and start building its audience.

Putting out an EP or album before you’ve even been discovered can be costly and have little to no impact on your music career. This is because releasing a single will help you establish a base of listeners that you can sustain and grow by releasing different forms of music. Releasing multiple singles before releasing an EP or album may increase recognition of your music, establishing a better foundation for your career as an artist.

What is an EP?

An EP (Extended Play) is a music recording that contains more tracks than a single but fewer than an album. EPs now feature about 4-5 songs and are regarded as a less time-consuming and expensive way of recording and releasing music than an album. Furthermore, an EP is less unified and ad hoc, with the possibility of showcasing a musician’s flexibility and creativity. However, rather than an assemblage of randomly collected tracks, it should be viewed as an entity that exists and functions on its own.

When Should an EP be Released?

Following the release of one or more singles, recording and releasing an EP may be a smart step in solidifying your fandom as well as targeting and attracting new audiences. If your music is new to your audience, they are likelier to listen to your smaller collection of tracks rather than a whole 15-track album. Because of the enormous volume of tracks produced daily, listeners are antsy and fussy about the music they listen to. An EP not only takes less time to listen to but will also allow more opportunities for musicians to display their professional talents, potential, and ability to delve into numerous genres.

Furthermore, with the growing popularity of music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer, EPs have become a common and vital promotional and marketing strategy, especially for popular musicians looking to maintain their relevance and popularity in the eyes of their fans. By releasing an EP before or after an album, musicians can stay active, routinely, and constantly providing new music to their fanbases and be on everyone’s radar. Furthermore, releasing an EP is a terrific method to promote an upcoming concert or tour, keeping die-hard fans thrilled while also tempting potential fans to attend one of your shows.

What is an Album?

An album is a compilation of audio recordings typically consisting of 7-15 tracks. In contrast to an EP, which can be thought of as a collection of discrete, somewhat personal stories, an album is thought of as a complicated work of art, depicting a specific chapter from the artist’s life and taking the audience on an artistic trip. The three basic categories of albums are studio, live, and solo albums. The majority of albums are studio albums, which are generally recorded in a recording studio. However, studio albums can also be recorded in unusual places like in prison or at home.

A live album is most commonly recorded at a concert in front of a live audience, albeit such a recording is frequently overdubbed or multi-tracked in a studio. As ‘live,’ recordings done in a studio in one take without any further editing, overdubbing, or multi-tracking are also considered. On the other hand, a solo album is made by a current or former musical band member who released the material solely under their own name.

When Should an Album be Released?

While an EP is ideal for targeting and attracting new listeners, an album is required to convert the uncommitted audience into loyal devotees. Furthermore, creating an ‘album experience’ can help you retain the devotion and engagement of your current die-hard followers. People who admire your music will not only appreciate a whole 15-song album but will want it in order to better understand and connect with their favorite musician.

Furthermore, as previously said, albums are viewed as a more substantial and complicated type of music release, increasing the artist’s legitimacy and prominence while increasing their presence throughout music streaming platforms. You will be perceived as a serious musician by publishing an album, making you appear more substantial and appealing to other music business professionals such as festival organizers, agents, and musicians.

The Combination Approach: Releasing Singles Which Form an EP/Album

This EP/Album release strategy is fast gaining popularity among labels and artists across the industry, combining the advantages of these formats. The major news is that an EP or album will be issued, but it will be delivered in stages over the next few weeks or months. So, you get the impact of the major announcement, several attempts at coverage via the various singles, the drive for a steady, sustained music release schedule — and then a wonderful EP or album at the end. This also has the advantage of giving your EP or album some good play counts on the day it’s ‘released’ in full. This is more likely to leave a lasting impression on listeners than intermittently releasing a slew of songs.

As previously said, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every artist is unique, and so will their approach to a single EP or album release. But, before you start working on your own initiatives, make sure you have all the facts. Whatever you select, base it on what is best for your target audience, budget, and musical goals at this point in the game.

If you are looking for a music management company that can help you navigate the music industry and have the ability to push your career to new heights and open up new opportunities, contact GUIÓN PARTNERS today. We can help you plan your music career strategy, offer valuable advice and mentorship, deal with publicity, and make industry connections.