Spread it out: the magic of the EP

Several years ago (when I worked for a major record label) I was in a meeting to discuss a project we were gearing up to release. For some reason someone came up with the idea of releasing an EP. The Director of Sales at the time said that even mentioning the word “EP” to anyone in sales was basically saying the “f-word” in their world and that they shouldn’t do it.  

 

I guess when it comes to major label releases an EP (which is basically an album that features more songs than a single but is too short to be considered a full album, or an LP) is bad news. You’re given a certain amount of time on their release schedules to promote an album. Spending the time and money on an EP doesn’t make sense to them mainly because, well, they have 50 other artists they have to consider and focus on a the same time. You’re given your sliver of time and then it’s on to the next thing. 

I could get on my soapbox regarding artist development but I will resist this urge and talk with you about something you, as a modern musician, should strongly consider...

...which is releasing two EP’s over the course of a year. 

Release six songs at the beginning of the year and release the second six songs six months later. 

Why, you ask? There are several reasons. 

1.) SPREADING IT OUT: In today’s day and age releasing new material as often as you can is vitally important. Especially being a new artist it is important to keep new music rolling out as often as you can. If you can break it up throughout the year you will be able to give your fans more and more reason to keep coming back to your site and give them new music to experience. It keeps the conversation and interest rolling. 

2.) FOCUS: By zeroing in on five or six songs at a time artists aren’t forced to spread themselves too thin due to time restraints. They can take their time in developing their songs, crafting them and focusing on creating an amazing experience for their fans...and wanting more! 

3.) PRICE POINT: Who can resist a $5 album?? With an EP your price point is lower which is more alluring to potential fans to give your music a whirl.  

4.) MORE TO TALK ABOUT: From a publicity and marketing perspective, releasing two EP’s throughout the year gives you more to talk about and spreads the coverage throughout the year rather than just one shot at a certain point in the year. We will talk about gaining publicity through the press, blogs, podcasts, etc., in a blog later on so stay tuned for that.  

5.) FLEXIBILITY: If you just have one chance every year or two to release new music you’re very limited in not only new songs and ideas that you want to share with your fans, but in adding fuel to your marketing fire. By having several chances throughout the year to spread out the coverage, to focus on creating excellent songs, and giving your fans something new to not only consume but to share with their friends makes you so much more flexible and able to try new things.  

There have been several artists who have released EP’s throughout the year which have gained a lot of attention. Jon Foreman from Switchfoot and Justin McRoberts are two that come to mind. As an independent artist you are able to be creative and try news ways of getting your music out there and expand your audience. And that's the point, right?  

What are your thoughts?