EP (Extended Play)
An EP usually contains 3-6 tracks with about 10-25 mins play time. Consider it to be something like a mini-album, and you could do an EP if you don’t have the time (or money) to record a full length album. In the UK a record with more than 4 tracks or more than 25 mins play time is already counted as an album, so the definition of an EP is not always clear. I’d recommend to call your record an EP if it has less than 7 tracks, unless the total play time is above 30 mins. Don’t risk people to be disappointed by calling it an album if it doesn’t keep up with the promises.
EPs are very popular among amateurs.
This format seems to allow for an easy start, if you only have limited time and as well as a limited budget.
But doing an EP is usually not a good idea.
It limits your creativity (you can show much more of your skills on an album), while you will also earn less per sale than with an album. If you’re releasing it in physical format, then your CD production costs will usually be almost as high as if you were doing a full length album, which means that your margins will also be lower. If people like your music to a degree that they’ll buy your EP, then they would probably also buy your album.
If your music is great, then your fans will be glad to spend a few bucks more to get a full album.
If your music sucks however, then they also won’t buy it if it’s just a cheaper EP. Only do an EP if you cannot come up with enough good songs to release it as an album, but even if this is the case then I’d recommend to continue writing new songs until you have enough material for a long player.
So the final recommendation is to avoid EPs, as this format will never allow you to create a record as great as an album, because the EP format will not allow you to develop a record that’s complex enough to show what you’re really capable of as an artist.