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Musical Terminology

What does the term 'EP' mean in music?

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June 07, 2011 9:35PM

EP stands for "extended play" as EP records are longer than original single 45 records, usually containing 4 tracks. Artists usually release an EP before the full album to give the fans a taste of what is coming. The EP may include anywhere from 2 to 10 songs depending on the length of the full album.

A good example of an EP containing 4 tracks was the Beatles' 'Twist and Shout (EP)'. The EP format is also used as a low-cost way of showcasing new artists.

Historically, EP records were often similar to seven inch single records but played at 33 1/3 rpm rather than 45 rpm.