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Today we’re going to look at how to make a EP album. If you’re in the process of creating an EP or if you’re thinking of doing so, this is the guide you’re going to need.
In this article we’re going to look at the benefits of creating a music EP, what stages the process involves, and how you can make your CD stand out from the crowd. So without wasting any time, let’s get into it!
What Is A Music EP
The letters EP stand for Extended Player. An EP is a compilation of songs, which is longer then a single but shorter then an album. A single is one single song, and an album generally contains 8 songs or more.
The average EP is around four songs long. It’s usually made up of original songs, ones that haven’t already been released in the form of another type of project. You can read more about what a EP stands for here.
Why Should You Make An EP
If you’re pretty new to the world of EPs, you may be wondering what the benefit of creating an EP is over creating say a single, album or mixtape. While it may not be ideal for every situation, just like the other types of music compilations, the EP has it’s time and place.
First of all, the EP is great as a promotional tool. While singles are quick and easy to create, they don’t give people a full idea of what you can do. It is only one song after all. On the other hand, while an album can show off many different sides to you, it can be long and expensive to produce.
The EP is the middle ground. It’s long enough to showcase your talent, but it’s not so long that you need to spend ages putting it together. While creating a mixtape can get your noticed, an EP can generally do the same job if you approach it right. Unlike creating a mixtape though, EP albums are generally, but not always, made using original backing tracks. People also expect a lot less tracks to be in an extended player.
EPs can also be given away as an incentive for people to join your mailing list, something we’ll talk about more in future guides.
Should You Give Your EP Away For ‘Free’ Or Sell It?
Before you start creating your EP, you need to decide what the aim for it is. Are you going to sell it to try and make money from your music career, or are you going to give it away in exchange for non monetary benefits (In exchange for people signing up to your mailing list, in exchange for a tweet etc)?
This is completely up to you. I will say though, that if you’re not going to sell it, make sure you exchange it for something else. An email address, a Facebook like, them spreading the word in some way. You want to show them that your music is worth something, and subconsciously show them that it’s worth more then all those other songs that they just download for free.
How To Pick The Right Tracks For Your EP
Ok, so let’s talk about actually creating your EP. If you’ve already got some songs recorded, it’s fine to use these tracks for this project. You should make sure these tracks haven’t already been included on your album or as a single release where possible, as you want it to be fresh so the word can spread about your project.
When picking the style for your extended player, you have a few options. You can either keep all the songs of the same type (E.G. All heavy rock, all pop, or all conscious rap), you can have two tracks more melo and two tracks showing a different side to yourself, or you can have four tracks all showing different styles you can create.
My advice would be not to go with the last version. This can be too confusing to the listener, and will most likely mean they will have to skip tracks.
You should ideally keep the style largely similar in each EP you do, as you will want to get the fans of that kind of music to enjoy everything you do. This is the kind of thing that will make them want to listen out for more of your stuff, and hopefully turn them into a life long fan. You can however showcase two different styles if you think it’s appropriate.
Structuring Your EP
As well as getting the right style of song for your project, you should also think about how you’re going to lay your EP out. If you do decide to have more then one style of song on there, you will need to make sure things flow. So for example, you can’t have a ragga song followed by a rap song followed by a ragga song then another rap song. If you’re going to have both styles, play them separately. So have both ragga songs, then both rap songs after.
You may also want to have an introduction and an outro as well if you want to take things to the next level, which is what I always suggest you do!
Make Sure Your Recording Quality Is… Quality
There’s nothing worse then downloading or buying a EP, and finding out it sounds like it’s been recorded in a dustbin. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you’re releasing a EP or an album, poor recording quality is not acceptable!
Your EP is a promotional tool. It may even be free if you decide that to be the case. Either way, you need to remember that people are still going to hear your music. They are going to hear it, and they are going to judge you based on it. If therefore your songs sound of a poor quality, they are going to come to the conclusion that they don’t like your music!
Always make sure you use a good quality recording studio when you’re recording your project, anything less is like shooting yourself in the foot…
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P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and make people WANT to hear it. Want to learn how to do that? Then check out our music marketing training here. A fool proof guide on how to get people to listen to your music.