EP vs LP; what’s the difference?

EP vs LP are words that are frequently used by musicians and music fanatics, sometimes rather loosely and even interchangeably. With that said there is a lot of fallacy surrounding the use of the terms EPs, LPs, mixtapes and albums. So I took it upon myself to decipher this confusion.


An EP or an extended play record is a musical recording containing more tracks than one single, but is too short and hence, unqualified as an album or an LP. Modern EPs generally contain between three to five tracks. They are generally considered less expensive and less time consuming to produce than full length albums/LPs. EPs can be used as a prequel to an album and have proven to be successful marketing and sales tools for artists and brands.


An LP on the other hand, stands for long play, which is in essence a full length album. The terms album and LP can be used interchangeably as they are one and the same. The LP (Long Play or Long Playing) is a format for phonograph (gramophone) records, an analog sound storage medium. It was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, and was soon adopted as a new standard by the entire record industry.

Albums are very important and artists are judged by how well they put their albums together. Albums are sold as an experience and everything from the lyrical content, to production, features and album covers, are taken into consideration. The best albums tell the best stories and occupy top spots in the charts staying there for weeks and going Gold and Platinum; a result of physical sales, downloads and streams.


A mixtape can be an EP or an LP in terms of length but is not sold; it can never be sold (unless on hard copy, to cover the cost of putting it up on a CD). It is given away for free to promote an up and coming artist and to generate a fan base. It serves as a launching pad for artists looking for endorsements or a record deal.

It is my hope that this piece offers a little insight and closure into the meaning of EP and LP. We’d like to hear your opinions regarding this EP vs LP topic by writing on the comment section below.

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One Thought to “EP vs LP; what’s the difference?”

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