This article originally appeared on the CreativeLive blog.
You're in a band. You've played some shows. The material feels strong and you want to start working on a record. But should you start out slow with an EP or go full steam ahead with an LP?
First of all, we'll skip all the talk of what constitutes an EP vs. a full-length. This is your project, and you'll know the difference between just a sample of your music or most everything. So which one should you do? Here are the best reasons for both.
1. They're cheaper
It only makes sense that fewer songs will take less time to record. If money is tight, then just pay for the sampler and not the full meal.
2. You're ready sooner
Are you still a couple songs shy of a full-length? Then why stress over writing when you can just deal with that when you're out of the studio?
3. Labels may be more receptive
Many labels are wary to dump all the resources necessary for an LP into unproven artists. But they'll definitely be more willing to take a risk if it's something more modest.
4. They're easier to self-release
It's also not a huge risk for you if you want to put out something that can fit on 7" vinyl or be sold in simpler packaging.
5. You can always re-record songs for the full-length
Nothing is stopping you from taking the best songs and polishing them up for when you do a full-length. A lot of people really love hearing how a song evolves over the course of six months to a year.
1. EPs aren't always cheaper
Considering how much time you spend in the studio that doesn't involve recording, one trip can definitely be cheaper than two if you plan on coming in again in the near future. Waiting around for all the mics to be set up and having everything soundchecked eats up a lot of studio cash, and it may be best to just have to do it once.
2. You have more to choose from
If you start promoting the album with shows, you'll start tiring of some of the songs and wish you could change them up. And you have a lot more to play with for a setlist when you have twice as many songs to choose from.
3. You'll seem more serious
Plenty of bands release full-lengths every year, but even more people release EPs. All of the reasons that make EPs simpler can also make them seem less noteworthy. A full-length shows musicians that have spent considerably more time and effort to make their music.
4. LPs can be easier to market
No one wants to hear six months in advance that you have four songs coming out, which is why a lot of EPs fall through the cracks. But if you've put together a proper album, you're allowed to hype that thing with mastering updates, artwork leaks, song debuts, and other promotions to snag everyone's attention.
5. It's a clean slate
Sometimes the best thing that can happen for an artist is a new start. When you record a full-length, you're cleaning out your closet pretty efficiently. And while that means you have no idea when anything new will show up, you're free to head any direction you wish.
Regardless of what you're releasing, try these tips:
- 5 Benefits of Releasing a Split EP With Another Band
- Indie Artist Cheat Sheet: The Best and Worst Months to Release Your Album
- How to Successfully Release Your Next Single
- Should You Press Vinyl for Your Next Release?
- How to Record an EP on a Shoestring Budget
Shane Mehling is a freelance writer and editor who plays in noise rock bands.