Wednesday, August 26, 2009

3 of 3 - EPs

The final thing I wanted to talk about is EPs. This isn't really a problem within DFTBA. Hell, it's not a problem at all. It's just something that bugs me personally and I wanted to see if I was alone or not.

Currently, the following YouTube musicians (among others) have EPs available of their music:


If you go on their channels, you'll find that they have a lot more songs than they have put on to their EP. There's definitely enough material from all of these people to release full-length releases. The latter two musicians, in fact, have two EPs each; Musicfromblueskies actually has a few available, one on iTunes and a couple for free download.

In general, I think this is a reflection of our own quick-fire times where a video more than four minutes is too long and doesn't hold our attention. I think a lot of people would like some money and want to see how well their music does, so they put out enough songs to have an EP and don't want to wait for a full-length release. This is obviously a generalisation and it might not be true of any of the musicians I've named, so I was wondering what you guys thought. My feelings are that EPs are best saved for when you're diverting from your main music; for example, I would like to record an EP with Tom Milsom so that we could release Eyelashes, and maybe a few other songs. It would be a one-off project with no other release plans and as such an EP would make sense.

Do you think a lot of EPs are a shortcut when people could just wait and release full-length stuff, or can they be justified in all cases? Does this bother anyone else or is it just me? This is the least DFTBA-specific of these three posts but as always, I'm still curious to hear what you all think. Cheers <3

PS: EVERYONE yesterday agreed that the release date for the CD should be the date you GET the album, not the date it ships - but several of you pointed out that with a small company like DFTBA, shipping to multiple locations worldwide, such guarantees can be hard. Still, I think if we work on trying to aim for as close to release as possible, it'd definitely be an incentive for people to pre-order the physicals. After all, some people just buy iTunes because they don't wanna wait for the physical delivery, but if they knew they could have the physical on the same day iTunes goes live, it'd solve that problem.


  1. I think EP's can be good for new artists who want to see exactly how ready people are to buy their music. I've heard lots of original music on youtube, alot of it has alot of hits, but would I buy it....maybe not.

    So for the FIRST release, I think an EP is a good way to test the waters.

    But after that, I think that new releases beyond that (if the EP justifies them) should be full length albums, because at that point either you have the fan base to sell enough for it to be ok, or you dont.

  2. I agree, I think EPs are best when you're doing something different with your music. Or if you're a new artist, it seems best to start with something smaller. I do love full length albums, however there have been times when I've wished I could have heard more than was on their myspace, but less money than a full album.

    Love your postings, Alex :)

  3. I (kthxrae) made an EP instead of a full length album for many reasons. The biggest being that it was all I could afford. I had to pay for everything myself, because I don't have a record label backing me up financially. Hundreds of dollars went to my producer, alone. I only had enough money to record a certain amount of songs. So I went, "okay, how can I get these songs to people?" and thought "an EP, that's perfect".

    Another reason was because at the time I was recording the EP, I still had under 1,000 subscribers on Youtube. By Youtube standards, that sure as hell isn't much of a fanbase. So it was important to test the waters, see if people were actually going to buy it, ect. So far I've been happily surprised by the outcome.

    And another reason was because, honestly, the other songs weren't ready. Either I wasn't completely happy with them, or I wasn't emotionally capable of putting myself out there like that just yet, with those songs.

    Plus, it's a known fact that people respond well to songs they already know. Look at Jason Mraz's song, "I'm Yours". That song had been heard a million times on Youtube before the album it was on was released. By the time that album came out, with the song on it, EVERYONE knew the song word by word. And THAT was why it was such a hit. I knew that if my EP was mostly (5/6) songs that people had already heard (songs that were videos), they would respond better to my EP. And I was right. My least-bought song on Itunes is "The Moonlight", because I never made a video of me singing that song, haha.

  4. I think a lot of bands release EPs to sort of remind the world that they still exist. The general cycle in the world of music at large tends to be 1. Release album. 2. Tour album. 3. Relax.* Then they'll pop up a year and a bit later, and do it all over again.

    A lot of bands, I've noticed however, especially ones which haven't yet enjoyed full commercial success, will release an EP in the down time, which they won't tour, just to keep their names in their fans' minds.

    There is also the issue of striving for perfection and how it can keep you from fulfilling your goals, as WheezyWaiter put forth in a recent video (Perfection 101). An album takes a lot more work than an EP and the extra work could well in many cases, be enough to keep you from achieving anything.

    Great posts, Alex! Glad to see you blogging again! :]

    *A generalisation, of course, and I realise there is a LOT more work involved.

  5. I've always loved EPs. Short, Sweet, and to the point. Especially if they have a concept (ie Taking leave). That being said, I am always left wanting more. I guess sometimes that's the point, but I feel like if there is hype to be made about something, there should be hype for a reason. Give me a full album to be excited about, not just 5 songs. Heck, It'd probably take me a half hour to rip the songs off of YouTube videos (if I wanted to, I'm not saying I actually do that.) But a full album is more work, so I would just pay for it. I do think EPs are good for Special projects and for people that are just getting started. If there is interest, then maybe a full album is in order, if not, they you have a little EP you put together and can sell at shows.
    So I'm a little split on the EP idea. Good for some things, but when it comes down to it, I guess full albums are better.
    I'm not a follower of the "Less is more" idea, when it comes to quantity of new music. :)

  6. This is a question I am likely to face myself in the next year or so - whether to go for an EP or a full album. I think you can "get away" with a lot more on an EP: people may not mind so much if the audio sounds a little rough or if hundreds of pounds haven't been poured into making it. When you make a full-album people (or, at least, I) expect a lot more in terms of the quality of the sound. I could not, for example, get away with releasing a full-length album of tracks using just my guitar and my voice, whereas with an EP I probably could.

    To summarise, I feel that the very nature of an EP allows for a certain amount of amateur-ishness, whereas people expect big-budget-ness from a full-length album (recording studio etc). I think YouTube artists tend to sway towards EPs because they don't feel they have the money or equipment to produce an audio quality worthy of a full-album (though one exception that quickly springs to mind is Dr Noise...).

    (Oh, and Raven - I thought "The Moonlight" was the best track on the EP, so it's their loss :D)

  7. I think, with the Internet changing the whole music thing again, albums aren't necessary anymore. It used to be like this: recording an album was too expensive for beginning artists, so they started with EPs. Once they got signed they just did singles and LPs. But now the attention goes back to single songs again as opposed to collections of them. So the way you sell them is not so important, I think. So EPs, LPs, it's all fine by me. Whatever works best for the particular idea you're working on.

  8. I like EPs as starter albums, and as you were saying, variations from your normal music, but I think once you are past the first album, and what you are creating is your regular sound (if that makes sense) then waiting a little bit longer to have a full size album is well worth the wait, and is kind of a reward for the fans patience.

    Also, I get annoyed when I am burning a disk and I have 6 things to burn and I have space for twelve. I will not burn the disk until I have found 6 more things that fit, just to get bang for buck out of each disk. Why put something on two disks when you could just as easily put it on one, you know. To be perfectly clear, I am not judging people who make EPs in anyway, that is just my own personal brand of crazy ^__^

  9. Yeah, I was just reminded of another thing. The internet HAS changed the music business. Albums are pretty much obsolete if you do things right. Look at Jack Conte ( or, he releases each song as he records them. He does all of his recording and producing himself, at home, and then puts the songs on sale immediately. And he tells his fans to support him directly, instead of there being all the middlemen of record labels and stuff. To him it's WAY worth it to have the gear he needs at home, and having paid for it, because now he's being totally re-embursed for it.