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Home Entertainment Short but Sweet — The Growth of the EP Format in the...

Short but Sweet — The Growth of the EP Format in the Age of Streaming

The inflow of well-liked modern artists releasing EPs is, and can possible proceed to be, exceptional. Differing from full-length albums, an EP is plainly outlined as “prolonged play,” which primarily means it’s a medium-length album starting from the size of 4-6 songs (although it may have barely roughly than this vary). Beforehand, this format was well-liked for artists wanting so as to add songs to singles they launched, since paying for a whole file or CD with just one tune on it would not sometimes lure followers to pay the next value level. Although some listeners buy singles, EPs, and albums by means of each CD and vinyl codecs, the overwhelming majority of music listeners gravitate in the direction of streaming music on-line as a result of of the accessibility of the format. On account of this transformation in how music is produced for residence listeners, the method collections of musical works are launched has additionally modified.

It is not tough to see how shortly the method we talk with the relaxation of the world has modified drastically as a result of of the web. Quick access to on-line content material and streaming platforms has modified the method file corporations and impartial artists launch music. It’s difficult to construct a secure fan base and it may take an artist years to good an album. Tendencies and well-liked artists change so shortly in the digital age as a result of of fixed stimulation, and much more so for these deeply related to social media. Due to this fact, by releasing an EP in a shorter quantity of time, artists are in a position to supply a gentle stream of releases to maintain the curiosity of followers.

That is exponentially vital for brand new artists attempting to construct up a dependable fan base. Cash additionally has a considerable affect on why EPs have develop into extra well-liked, and the constant launch of EPs in-between album initiatives generates a extra dependable earnings for artists. As a substitute of being energetic each few years for the interval earlier than and after the launch of an album (the place, together with touring, artists have historically made the majority of their cash), with EPs, artists can fill the gaps in between albums with marketable content material. It’s also considerably cheaper for newer artists to drop an EP as an alternative of placing in double the sources and time to supply a debut album. In recent times, EPs have risen in reputation and have the potential to rival the significance of the album. This offers the framework for why the following modern EPs have gained a lot traction.

Do not Overlook About Me — Dominic Fike
Dominic Fike

For an artist with no prior releases (not even singles), the huge reputation of Do not Overlook About Me is uncanny. Dominic Fike was a comparatively unknown indie hip hop, rock, and pop artist from Naples, Florida who dropped songs every now and then on SoundCloud, then one fateful day he uploaded a demo/EP, Do not Overlook About Me. What resulted was an intense bidding warfare between labels to signal him, whereas he was in jail nonetheless. Since its official studio launch with the successful label, Columbia Data, all six songs on the EP have over twelve million streams on Spotify. The hottest tune, “Three Nights,” has a whopping 618 million streams. Do not Overlook About Me is so impactful as a physique of work that it was chosen as an album decide for this website at the peak of the EP’s reputation in 2018. Fike launched the album What Might Probably Go Unsuitable in 2020 and it nonetheless does not have half of the reputation of Do not Overlook About Me. Now, this does not imply his profession is over or that his debut album wasn’t nonetheless well-liked, but the abrupt fame of Fike’s EP was that intense. Since the EP solely has six songs, it is strongly recommended for unfamiliar listeners to present all of them a attempt. Dominic Fike’s music is greatest described as an audible mix of each variation of indie music you can think about, all cohesively mixed by clean vocals. Following the tad of folks affect in his music, every tune has an impartial storyline and temper. Fike additionally launched a music video together with the greatest hit off of his EP, “Three Nights,” although it does not have as a lot significance in launch technique nor story as the collection of movies created for the following EP.

Love Language — UMI

UMI didn’t have a dramatic introduction to the music trade like Dominic Fike, but that does not imply her debut EP Love Language did not have an effect. She had launched two songs previous to this EP, and since its launch, it has gained a gentle enhance in appreciation and recognition. Now two years later, each tune on the EP has over 5 million streams on Spotify. That is fairly the achievement for an up-and-coming artist with solely two singles underneath her belt prior and no dramatic piece of private data for information headlines. With such restricted publicity, UMI nonetheless strategically launched this EP as her recognition was progressively growing. Earlier than the awaited launch of Love Language, she went on tour in the summer time of 2019 with Cuco (a well-liked indie-pop artist) which constructed her a budding fanbase. Then when her EP was formally launched in October, UMI went on one other tour as the opener for Conan Grey’s Consolation Crowd Tour. Via this tour, she was in a position to carry out her debut EP round the nation. The strategic placement of her EP’s launch between two excursions with well-liked artists has little question helped enhance her listeners. I attended a Conan Grey live performance having by no means earlier than heard of UMI’s existence; I walked out of the venue that night time along with her entire EP saved on my Spotify.

Along with being an EP, Love Language can be a group of music movies. UMI didn’t launch the EP unexpectedly, as an alternative, she launched every “episode” (music video) of the EP on YouTube in tandem with the drop of their respective songs on streaming platforms. It would not be unreasonable to imagine that this scheduled launch of songs with their music movies was strategic; we reside in a digital age the place followers are hungry for as a lot content material as they’ll get their fingers on at one time. Nevertheless, the launch of these movies wasn’t only for advertising. The plot of the Love Language episodes is equally as vital as the music in bringing UMI to life for potential followers. Whereas the EP alone affords consolation to listeners along with her velvety R&B voice and honest lyrics, the movies share her sense of humor and eccentric creativity. UMI was in a position to create a cohesive narrative from the 4 songs on her EP, and it is strongly recommended that new listeners give these movies a attempt. With the layers of planning that went into the timing and technique of launch, UMI maximized the advantages of a debut EP.

Sail Out — Jhene Aiko
Jhene Aiko

In comparison with the different two artists, Jhené Aiko had an unnatural quantity of recognition in the music trade earlier than the launch of an EP. She launched the single “No L.O.V.E” again in 2003, but past that had no solo releases till the EP Sail Out in 2013. Regardless of this minuscule quantity of content material, Sail Out had success virtually instantly as a result of of how well-known Aiko’s voice is in collaborations with some of the music trade’s most well-known artists. Aiko has featured on the observe “From Time” on Drake’s Nothing Was the Similar, “Rising Aside (To Get Nearer)” on Kendrick Lamar’s Overly Devoted, and “Beware” on Massive Sean’s Corridor of Fame; the whole quantity of streams on these songs respectively are 299 million, 12 million, and 210 million. As a result of of the massive tune options Aiko had earlier than her EP’s launch, she gained a cult following inside the R&B neighborhood for her distinctive voice.

This explains why each tune on her subsequent EP had streams starting from 20 million to 189 million. After being on so many extremely coveted options, this assortment of seven songs held Aiko’s followers over earlier than the launch of her debut album Souled Out in 2014, discover how the titles of the debut EP and album reference one another. Aiko’s Sail Out is one other distinctive instance of an artist utilizing an EP to maximise their reputation. This EP gave the world a small pattern of Aiko’s distinctive, clean voice and anguished R&B music that now makes her one of the prime artists in the world right this moment. Sailed Out just isn’t really helpful for these wishing to be cheered up, but glorious for creating a sense of solidarity in disappointment. Aiko additionally launched a handful of music movies for some of the songs on the EP. The video for “Mattress Peace” with Infantile Gambino greatest encompasses the which means behind each the observe and the title of the EP so it is strongly recommended to present it a watch, although the movies for “The Worst,” “Consolation Inn Ending (Freestyle),” and “3:16AM” may gain advantage listeners as effectively.

Sundown Season — Conan Grey
Conan Gray

The story of Sundown Season is much like UMI’s Love Language. Each EPs are debuts, nonetheless, Conan Grey didn’t go on excursions with different well-liked artists at the starting of his skilled profession. As a substitute, Grey bought his begin from having a fanbase for his YouTube channel that was a mix of well-done covers and private movies about his day by day life. Months earlier than the launch of Sundown Season in 2018, Grey’s covers and different movies persistently pulled in a whole lot of hundreds of views. This reveals that he had already constructed a large following earlier than the launch of his EP, and thus was in a position to capitalize sooner than artists who begin from scratch after which have to open excursions for different artists or be featured on different songs. Grey additionally instantly went on tour with the launch of Sundown Season, and this additional solidified the regular progress of his reputation as the new face of indie, bed room pop.

Although his preemptive fanbase on YouTube doesn’t imply Grey didn’t even have humble beginnings. In keeping with a tweet, he “began this EP in the bed room of [his] tiny city, recording on a mic [he’d] taped to a damaged lamp” which speaks to the modest begin of this now-famous artist. Presently, he’s the 197th hottest artist in the world in response to Spotify streams. Conan Grey’s music is greatest described as indie-pop/rock, although Sundown Season particularly sounds dreamy and extra like bed room pop than his later music, becoming for the imagined sound of a sundown. His voice can be increased pitched than most males, and the smoothness of it heightens the dreamlike high quality of the relaxation of the instrumentals. The movies for “Crush Tradition” and “Technology Why” emphasize the tracks’ dreamy sound with their light, usually gradual movement, visuals. In his later work, extra particularly Child Krow, Grey delves right into a extra emotionally gritty and fewer dreamy sound, although nonetheless retaining the core of his distinctive vocals.


Uniquely, the launch of THE FALLING MAN was not a major turning level in Duckwrth’s profession. He has been an energetic punk, hip hop artist since 2014, and at the time of this 2019 launch, he had three albums and twelve singles launched. THE FALLING MAN was additionally positioned two years after the launch of the album An Xtra Ugly Mixtape and one 12 months earlier than SuperGood. The drop of this EP prevented a 3 12 months lengthy (virtually 4 12 months) hiatus for Duckwrth which possible helped him maintain the curiosity of followers. But simply because Duckwrth was a longtime artist at the time of this EP’s launch doesn’t imply it was merely a placeholder. There’s a lot of storytelling and energy seen in this EP; he created a brief movie in addition to different emotional music movies for its songs. Inside THE FALLING MAN EP and quick movie, Duckwrth tackles a spread of deep themes. In the phrases of the caption on YouTube, this EP is “what occurs when your fears manifest and develop into actual[.] On this four-act quick movie, you’ll watch as The Falling Man battles along with his concern of vulnerability & betrayal, love & dedication, social standing and even loss of life itself.” The movie itself is separated into acts as if it is a play, and the costume designs are deliberately crafted to look as if they’re typical props you’d see in a reside play. That is meant to narrate the ideas of THE FALLING MAN with the well-known works of Shakespeare. There’s additionally intentional classical music affect in the tracks to play up the play drama vibe it’s meant to convey; that is most obvious in the tune “A WILDFIRE.” Regardless of the audible high quality in the EP by itself, the quick movie is a necessity for totally appreciating Duckwrth’s artistry.

The many causes for the latest enhance of EPs—whether or not or not it’s used to keep up a longtime artist’s following in between albums, to present a brand new artist a place to begin earlier than their debut album, or just to realize cash—assist clarify why they’ve develop into as vital as albums for growing artists. Many more moderen artists select to start their profession with a debut EP earlier than their first album after which proceed to tour on simply that EP. Due to this fact, critics and web sites devoted to new music have begun to deal with EPs with the identical respect as albums. Followers even have begun to eat EPs in the identical method as albums; that is exemplified by the huge quantity of listeners for Conan Grey and UMI after simply the launch of their EPs. In some instances, the songs on an artist’s EP can have extra streams than their albums, as in the case of Dominic Fike. Although EPs are rising in standing, the inventive advantages from lengthy, story arcs which can be deeply explored and expanded upon in full-length albums will possible proceed to carry true in addition to different distinctive qualities of albums. But as we stock on by means of the digital age and see a continued development of rising EP reputation and important acceptance, there’s a risk that EPs shall be held to, at most, the identical regard as full-length albums; will probably be key for brand new listeners to concentrate to them.


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