An extended play (usually abbreviated as EP ) is a sound carrier that can be classified between a single and an album (LP, long play) . Mostly it is records or CDs that contain too many tracks to be considered a single, but also do not constitute a complete album. That is why they are often referred to as mini-albums .
When distinguishing between single, album and especially maxi single , the technical term of an EP has no generally valid definitive meaning. In contrast to the EP, a maxi single contains fewer different pieces. Nevertheless, the running time of a maxi with various remixes of one or more pieces can be in the range of typical album running times. An EP usually contains between four and nine (mostly) different pieces; many EPs are less than half an hour long.
EPs are particularly widespread in the field of independent labels . Often they also represent a kind of link between two albums by an artist.
During the great era of vinyl records in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, EPs were records in single format (17.5 cm or 7 ″ diameter) or in 25 cm or 10 ″ format (between single and 30 cm LP ), on which three to four pieces of music could be heard - instead of the two usual singles.