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Album Vs Single Vs EP | What should YOU release?

Photo by Ena Marinkovic

Almost every musician has this question: Should I release a full-length album or should I release individual singles? Singles take less time to make while you can be more creative with albums. And, what the hell is EP?

So today, let's discuss the pros and cons of Albums, Single, and EP.


Photo by Jacek Skorupski

A single usually means "one song" in the modern-day music industry. If you're interested in definitions and history of the term "single", read this Wikipedia article. We will not discuss that here.

Here, we will only talk about the pros and cons of making and releasing a single.

Pros of Singles:

  1. Easy to Promote: Singles are very easy to promote. You may not need a full strategy or a plan to actually promote a single. Promoting a single is a lot easier than promoting an Album.

  2. Less Time-Consuming: Making a single is less time-consuming than an Album or an EP. One can make a great single within a week or less (depends from person to person).

  3. Low Immediate Cost: When you make a single, you do not have to spend a huge amount of money immediately. You can make a single easily on a very low budget (or even for free if you can do everything on your own).

  4. Focus: When you make a single, you can focus all your energy and creativity on one song instead of spreading it across different songs in an album. You don't have to worry about what you should do in other songs.

  5. Easy To Follow the "Trend": You can easily follow the "trend" or "trendy sound" while making a single as it takes very little time to make. For example, you can make something that resembles your current favorite song! While making an album, it's not easy to follow the trend as it takes a long time to create.

Cons of Singles:

  1. Hard to Build a Repertoire: This is a big problem for performing artists. Performing artists need at least some songs while performing live. If you do not release often, you may not have enough songs to perform live.

  2. Hard to sell as "Deluxe" Version: You can easily add more songs to an album after release and sell it as a "Deluxe Version". However, it's very hard to pack additional songs with your single and sell them. It easy with albums because it reflects the story behind the album. But, it's not a very good idea to sell a deluxe version of a single.

  3. Tight Release Schedule: You may have to release a lot to get recognized and build a fanbase. One single in a year is not enough if you want to build a healthy audience. You should be releasing more than 1 single a month to grow.

  4. Quality over Quantity: You may not agree with this. However, I prefer quantity over quality. This is because it's impossible to make a perfect song (especially when you're just starting). Also, if you try to focus more on quality, you may get stuck in a creative rut. You may not be able to release anything if you try to perfect everything. If you focus on quantity over quality, you will automatically improve over time.


Photo by Elviss Railijs Bitāns

An album generally contains 7 or more tracks. The maximum number of songs in an album is not clear. It depends on your distributor or your record label and the music store. Fun fact: The world record maximum number of songs in a digital album is 300 (source).

So, let us discuss the pros and cons of an Album.

Pros of an Album:

  1. Less Cost per Song: Due to the concept of "mass production", individual songs cost less when you make an album. Of course, you may have to pay a lot of money upfront but it will decrease the cost of individual songs. For example, you can record a full album in one or two recording sessions if you have a full plan. So, you have to pay less per song for a recording session compared to a single.

  2. More Quantity: This is obvious. You can definitely release more songs at once with an album.

  3. Flexible Release Schedule: You can release one or two albums per year. You don't have to stick to a tight schedule while making an album. Most artists take a lot of time making an album. It's not an easy job and it needs time.

  4. More Creativity: With albums, you can be more creative. You can spread your creativity across different songs and use different techniques.

  5. Deluxe Editions: You can re-release or resell your album by including additional songs in it. This is known as the deluxe version of the album.

  6. Builds Repertoire: When you make and release an album, you instantly have some songs which you can play/sing live. Your full setlist can be made out of your latest album easily!

Cons of an Album:

  1. High Total Cost: Of course, for making an album, you have to spend a lot of money upfront. Even if individual song cost is less, the upfront cost is still high. It's hard to deny that a full album costs a lot of money. This cost includes making the songs, music videos, and marketing of the album.

  2. High Risk: Making an album is riskier, especially for new artists. It takes a lot of time to make an album and it also costly. There is no guarantee that it will become successful. If you're a new artist, it's better to release singles and EPs instead of full-length albums.

  3. Lot of Work: We can't deny that making an album requires a lot of work. Also, there are chances that it will not succeed.


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An Extended Play or an EP contains less than 6 songs but more than 1 song. It's great for someone who wants to release multiple songs at once but not a full-length album. Let's talk about the pros and cons of an EP.

Pros of an EP:

  1. Low Cost per Song: Making an EP is comparatively cheaper than singles in terms of individual song costs. Also, you don't have to spend a lot of money upfront like albums.

  2. More Creativity than Single: Just like albums, you can spread your creativity across multiple songs. This is great for those who have multiple song ideas but do not have enough ideas to make full-length albums.

  3. Deluxe Editions: Just like albums, you can re-release an EP with additional songs as a deluxe version.

  4. Lesser Risk than Album: As we discussed, making an album is very risky. However, making an EP is less risky because it involves less time and less cost. And, even if it fails, you can make something better as soon as possible.

  5. Builds Repertoire: Just like albums, when you make an EP, you get multiple songs to perform live! This is great for new artists.

Cons of an EP:

  1. Fewer Songs to Showcase: This is the only con of an EP. You have fewer songs to showcase. But, this problem can be solved by releasing multiple EPs in a short period of time.


So, these were the pros and cons of Albums, Singles, and EPs. It's up to your requirement what you should release. Albums are definitely the best in my view as you can be more creative with them and it attracts new fans. However, artists who do not have time or budget to make full-length albums should make more singles or EPs as it consumes less time and money.

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