Record Single, Extended-Play, Long-Play and Mixtape Music Projects Explained

General Record Single, Extended-Play, Long-Play and Mixtape Music Projects Explained

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Music artists whether they are independent or signed to major record labels all release projects either in the form of a record single, an EP (extended play album), an LP (long play album) or finally mixtapes.


The difference between all those music project formats can be explained as follows:

A record single — this is a song that is released on its own (i.e. not part of an album) alternatively, it is also a song that is released prior to the official release date of an EP or LP studio and in that case, it is referred to as a 'lead' single.

The main purpose of dropping a lead single is obviously to promote an upcoming album by building up hype and so that people can proceed to make pre-orders on music digital platforms.


An EP (extended play album) — this is a body of work that is on average less than 30 minutes or in other words roughly somewhere from 4 to 6 tracks, of course depending on the duration of songs on that project thereof.


An LP (long play album) — this is a body of work that is commonly known as a studio album. For example, if a musician signs a record contract of say 6 albums that means they are expected to release 6 LP albums to fulfill the end of their bargain as far as that record deal is concerned.

However, some music productions may be longer than an average song (i.e. 3 mins) therefore the number of tracks is going to be a lot less and in that case, even a project with only 1 song is considered to be an album so long as the duration surpasses 30 minutes.

It is important to state that most record contracts have terms and conditions which clearly specify that a record label will ONLY recognize a project with a minimum X amount of time to be an album. For example, say a minimum of 45 minutes.

So if an artist hands in any project less than a contractually stipulated playing time a record company may proceed to release that body of work but it won't count amongst other studio albums an artist has already completed.


A mixtape — this is a music project that often consists of multiple licensed song remixes and is used for promotional purposes to keep a recording artist relevant to the masses.

For example, some artists have to put extra effort into the game whereas some artists either have that X-factor that makes them click with fans or are handpicked by the machine to lead the rest. Well, that's capitalism for you and it is a cardinal sin to curse corporations that pull the strings of your purse.

At the end of the day a 'mixtape strategy' isn't for every recording artist, neither does it work in every genre of music. It is the calculated application and a very clear understanding of the market that matters the most.

Because you don't want to flood the market with an oversaturation of microwave music. You will soon find yourself throwing salt in the game by watering down the value of your brand.
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