What Does EP, LP and SP Stand For?

What Does EP, LP and SP Stand

Surely you have already downloaded a lot of albums in different formats and at the end of the names, you saw at first glance strange combinations of letters.  And you want to know what they actually mean. So, after reading this full post all your doubt will be clear.

Music releases are usually divided into categories. There are several different classifications of music releases, by type, status, the medium on which the release is distributed. The site uses a single hybrid classification, which will be understandable to both a simple user and a professional in the field of music. Although at some points this classification may seem excessively rude. But it is worthwhile to understand that this is a compromise between availability and informativeness.

What does EP stand for

EP or Mini Album (Extended Play) – originally a record, on each side of which only 2-4 musical compositions with a total duration of sound of 15-20 minutes were placed. Initially, EP was called the 7-inch diameter vinyl record, recorded at 33⅓ RPM.

This difference of speed with respect to the simple engraving at 45 RPM allowed it to have a longer duration (a maximum of 25 minutes, 12’30 “per side) compared to the length of the single, whose maximum duration could not exceed 15 minutes. When vinyl was standardized at 33⅓ RPM, those 7 “discs that had more than one song per face were called EP.

The most popular and traditional mini-album format is an 18 cm (7 inches) gramophone record with a rotation speed of 45 rpm. This format appeared in the USA in 1951, additional time on the 7-inch plate was achieved due to a deeper cut which allowed the sound grooves to be closer to each other.

What does EP mean in music?

An extended play or EP is a musical format (vinyl record, compact disc, audio cassette, etc.) which is too long to be described as single but too short to qualify as an album (or LP).

Extended Play: In general, this type of format is used for the artist or group to show an example of the style and type of sound they use. In general, they have between 3 and 5 subjects.

In general, an album contains at least eight audio tracks (or lasts 30 to 80 minutes) and a single contains two or three tracks (for less than 10 minutes). An EP usually contains four to seven tracks (for 10 to 30 minutes of music). A remix of a single song is not an EP unless it contains in addition to other songs that do not remix.What Does EP, LP and SP Stand For_1_audiowavegeek

The quality, as a result, was average, but this was compensated by the fact that the difference in sound was not noticeable in the mass audio equipment of the 1950-60’s. The flourishing of the format of the mini-album took place in the decade from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s.

As a rule, early mini-albums were issued as duplicates of long-playing records for those whose players could not yet reproduce the sound at a speed of 33⅓ rpm. Since the format of the mini-album allowed to put on the record only 4 songs, such duplicates sometimes came out in 2-3 parts, while completely repeating the name of the long-playing album (especially this concept was used by RCA Records when releasing Elvis Presley plates).

What Are EP Used For?

EP or Extended Play of those years also played the role of small compilations of already released singles. Less often were independent mini-albums with new material. “Billboard” magazine in 1957 singled out a special hit parade of mini-albums, which three years later ceased to exist.

Over time, the format of long-playing records began to dominate the market, and the importance of mini-albums decreased. Now they were marketed as a brief review of the upcoming album. Such review mini-albums preceding the long-playing albums are usually called “samplers” (Album Sampler).

Since the late 1960’s. Extended Play or mini-albums have become the exception in the discography of performers of popular music, rather than regular practice. As a rule, such records became genuine small albums, conceived by the performers themselves. One of the vivid examples of a special approach to the mini album was the “Magical Mystery Tour”. The Beatles in 1967, which was released in the format of two records with exclusive songs and a 32-page booklet. In addition to 7-inch vinyl records, a 10-inch format (25 cm) was also common.

Also, read – 

- What is the Role of a subwoofer in a CAR?
- Best wireless earbuds for small ears
- Best under seat subwoofer with inbuilt amplifier
- Best headphones for toddlers on airplanes
- Best Boomboxes of all time

How many songs does an EP have?

Mini albums also appear on CDs, but the formatting is quite arbitrary and depends entirely on marketing (some mini albums reach 60 minutes or more). In most cases, Extended Play on compact discs consists of 4-6 songs. In recent years, they have become popular among young bands who do not have enough new material for a full-fledged debut album. In this form, they are so often called “mini-albums” (instead of EP).

Due to the vagueness of the format, mini-albums on compact discs are easily confused with singles on CDs. A distinctive feature of the mini-album is the presence of more than 3 different songs, while the single often have 1-3 new songs and an unlimited number of remixes. Hope now you understood what does EP mean or what does EP stand for in music.

What does LP stand for?

LP (Long Play) – a record format on record plates for playback at a disk rotation speed of 33⅓ rpm, provides much longer playback than a format with a lower recording density, designed for a rotation speed of 78 rpm. Also – a gramophone (usually 12-inch), recorded in this format.What Does EP, LP and SP Stand For_2_audiowavegeek

In the video recording – the format of video recording at a lower, than usual, the speed of the tape, providing a longer playback at a price of some reduction in image quality.

What does LP mean in music

LP means “Long Play”. As its name suggests, it is a long recording, between about eight and twelve titles. For such a format we generally speak of the album and normally we use the initials LP to mean that the album is engraved on a vinyl record. Most of the time, it’s a 30 cm diameter vinyl, 12 inches (hence its other abbreviation: 12 “), spinning at 33 rpm, and 25 cm diameter, 10 inches (10 “). However, with the advent of the CD, some began to use the initials LP to designate an album on CD medium

What does SP stand for?

SP or Single (Single Play) – originally a gramophone record, on each side of which only one musical composition was placed. The term “single” appeared in the 1950s to denote the difference between long-playing and one-two-song records. Currently, singles also appear on CDs and DVDs.

Since the early 90’s singles have lost their meaning and now are released either for DJs or for collectors, fans of one or another performer. In a certain period, singles were of interest from the point of view of the presence on them of unique compositions and versions not found anywhere else.

With the ever-increasing practice of releasing all sorts of anthologies, collections and supplemented album editions on CDs, the value of vinyl singles is sharply reduced. Among the collectors, the original singles of cult performers continue to be in demand. Today, more often than not, it is customary to refer to individual songs produced by producers before or after the release of the album.

What does SP mean in music

The most popular and traditional format of the single is a gramophone measuring 18 centimeters (7 inches) with a rotation speed of 45 revolutions per minute (that’s why they are called “sorokopyatkami”). This format appeared in the United States in March 1949 and was an invention of What Does EP, LP and SP Stand For_3_audiowavegeekRCA. Initially, he continued the concept of still existing shellac plates at a speed of 78 rpm. However, with the development of the format of long-playing records, singles began to be marketed as pre-release albums recording new songs (especially in popular music). Since 1957, most American labels have started producing singles exclusively in the format of 45 rpm.

Singles also short time limited edition on audio cassettes and laser discs. In 1980, Malcolm McLaren convinced EMI to release the debut single of his new band Bow Wow on audio cassette, which became a precedent. Over the next 20 years, singles on audiocassettes were released in addition to 7- and 12-inch singles. In 1989, the single, exclusively in the format of audiocassette (“Me Myself And I” De La Soul), first reached the American Top-40. In 2001, the release of singles, as well as albums, on audiocassettes was discontinued. Currently, there are DVD singles, the main difference being the availability of a video clip and an improved sound quality.

Difference between EP and LP Albums

The difference between an EP and LP is not always clear. Generally speaking, an EP (extended play) has fewer songs and a shorter playing time than an LP (playing long), although this is not always the case. Very often the EP designation is used in reference to a disc or CD that is longer than a one or two of a single track, but shorter than a standard length album.

LP or Long Play

EP or Extended Play

The format of the modern album was possible thanks to the creation of the LP format. While the term LP has been transformed over time to include any music release that is a full-length album, the term was originally used to describe a specific type of record: the 12-inch, 33 1/3 RPM (revolutions per minute)) album of vinyl records. The EP is a relatively new format compared to the LP. The format came to be in the 1980s, first as promotional items for a touring artist, but later as a proper release platform of its own.
The LP was made by Columbia Records in 1948 as a replacement for 10-inch pasta discs called 78s, named after their RPM speed. The 78s were very delicate, had the poor quality of the audio, and could contain only one song per side. The EP represents the middle ground between the long-playing LP and the single, which normally contained the intended trajectory for the individual release (side A) and another track that was typically a non-album cut (side B).
Since LPs are made of vinyl, they are much more durable, and since they spin at a slower speed, they can have more music. A typical LP can contain about one hour of music.

EPs expand in this format, which typically includes one or two songs from an artist’s latest album and a couple of other songs that may be unreleased tracks, live versions, remixes, or demo recordings. Most centrifuged EPs at 45 RPM, although some spin at the album speed of 33 1/3.


EPs vs. LPs

On average, an EP will have fewer songs and be shorter in length than the typical LP. However, the difference between an EP and an LP can be blurred at times, especially with the advent of the CD format in the 1980s, which increased the maximum album length of 79 minutes.

Some releases announced as albums may actually be shorter than EPs, and some EPs may have more individual songs than some LPs. For example, Weezer’s 2001 self-titled LP is approximately twenty-eight minutes long, the same length as Radiohead’s 1994 EP, My Iron Lung.

Popularity and sales

While EPs are released regularly by recording artists of all genres and popularity, the EP format is not as popular or predominant as the LP. As of May 2010, only two EPs have ever reached number one on Billboard magazine charts, and began to classify album sales in the 1940s like Alicia in the country 1994 release Chains, Jar Of Flies and Collision Course, a mash-up, collaboration between rapper Jay- Z and the additional rock group Linkin Park Formats Album.

Longer EPs are also known as mini- LPs or mini-albums, although this description was more popular in the 1980s. A common example given for the mini-LP format is The Pixies’. Come on Pilgrim, which is known throughout the Heather Phrase music guide as both an EP and a mini-LP. Another subset of the EP is the double EP, which can be a pair of 7 inches, 10 inches, or 12-inch records. Since a double EP can be easy while an LP, it is not a common format. Beatles album soundtrack. The Magical Mystery Tour was originally released as a double -EP in two 10-inch registers.

Types of Vinyl: 12 “, 10″ and 7”

For many generations, vinyl is not something that has returned or gone out of style. It is the platform to listen to music older, of which they are in current use, although it has, in fact, lost popularity. But for those who are not so, or not even “old”, vinyl can contain as many mysteries as, believe me, terms such as FLAC, AAC or MP3 shut down for many parents.

Until 1948 the discs appeared in various sizes and with a different capacity of RPM (revolutions per minute). Then Columbia Records released the first LP, the format that quickly became the industry standard. This first LP was a reprint of “The Voice of Frank Sinatra,” the first studio album Sinatra recorded in 1946. This version of the 10 ” (about 25 centimeters). In the standard-size version, the 12 “(31cm), Mendelssohn’s ” Concerto in E Minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 64″, conducted by maestro Bruno Walter and the virtuoso violinist Nathan Milstein, as soloist.

There are several possible formats for combining the diameter size and the amount of information inside it, but the 12 “LP, read at 33⅓ RPM, has set itself to the point that it has forever changed the song. Primarily from the 1960s, bands began to focus on planning their issues within LP timing and creating coherent albums. The album era was the beginning of the rock ‘n’ roll apogee.


Currently, with the arrival of the CD, the distinction between simple, EP, and LP (album) is arbitrary, and is based on both artistic and commercial factors. Generally, an EP has a maximum duration of 20-25 minutes and is usually a Mini-CD type disc. From that time on you should already talk about an album in CD format. However, some EPs have been published in standard CD format.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.