In the music world, there are some technical terms and abbreviations that need to be known. Two such abbreviations or terms, aside from albums and singles, are LP and EP. LP is the abbreviation for a long playing record (long play / long player), while EP is the abbreviation for extended play.
An EP, derived from the name extended, contains only a small number of songs. There may be three, or at most five, singles. Conversely, the LP is synonymous to a full album. These descriptions were the ones practically used for vinyl records. Up until the 1980′s, vinyl records were said to be the primary medium used to promote an artist’s new set of music tracks. These were directly sent to radio stations, and also to music clubs.
In this aspect, purely recorded EPs were used for the purpose of giving only a handful of people the overview of an artist’s new line of songs. This also served as publicity, or a part of an entire promotional tour (campaign) for the artist. The success of using these EPs was evident, asmajor record labels began manufacturing colored vinyl records for the public’s general consumption and sale.
Today, with the advent of CD and DVD technology, some bonus tracks have been added to what had been originally identified as music singles. A vinyl record that initially contained 1 or 2 songs (a single), has now become EPs with the addition of more songs (extras, demos and probably remixes) with the aid of more storage space in the said disks. For commercial purposes though, the music label companies insist on using the term ‘music singles with added bonus tracks’ to make the record more attractive to the buying public. According to some sources however, these EPs have also been regarded as a form of mini album.
Similarly, because vinyl records have now been replaced with the newer disks as the main medium of music distribution, the term LP is slowly being erased with the common use of the term ‘album’ (pertaining to the one sided disks). Although there may be as many tracks contained in LPs as in the full albums, LPs, back then, usually pertained to the two sided vinyl records wherein one side represented one half of the album, and the other side finished the remaining half. These records were about a foot in diameter, and are 33 rpm. These were said to be the domineering medium of distribution from 1948 to the later part of the 1980′s.
1. With regards to vinyl record formats, LP stands for long playing record (like a full album), while EP stands for extended play (like music singles with added bonus tracks).
2. LP basically has more music tracks compared to EP.