• Hugh Webber


Updated: Nov 1, 2020

This is not dating advice! What’s the best format for today’s market? - Albums / EPs / Singles?

The music business and access to music has changed so much even over the last couple of years, with a massive swing towards streaming. People want access to music quickly and easily.  That is reflected in reduced CD sales too, but there is an upswing in the vinyl market.  I'll come back to that thought in a moment!

According to the stats, there are approximately 20,000 new uploads to Spotify every day. That would take you about a month and a half to listen to, without sleep.

There are over 500 Hours of content added EVERY MINUTE to YouTube…the maths is against you!

So the consumer never had it so good, well had so much choice!  Therefore what you have to offer needs to stand out, otherwise it will disappear into that musical jungle.

Are Albums EP’s a redundant format?

Songs have also become a disposable commodity.  We no longer have to commit to buy the CD or even the download.  If we don’t like something, we can skip to the next track.  Because of this we get bored of the average and want exciting music more often.  In my mind this is in opposition to both the Album and EP format.

Don’t forget who I am!

I think there is also a danger people 'forget' who you are if you have a big gap in your music releases or can only hear your new stuff at gigs (although that does depend on how frequently you gig).

For an artist, I would suggest if you embark on an EP or Album project there is also a danger of procrastination and delay to actually finishing it all.  The EP format could be a good compromise if you have a small collection of songs with a similar topic or vibe.

Pick and Choose

In my opinion the days of people sitting down and listening to an album are long gone.  People pick and choose who and what they like, and the playlist has become the new king.  

Even when I think back to buying a new vinyl record or CD, I would always listen through, but very quickly I knew which songs were my favourites and mostly only played them.  People do this now, but across artists, and even genres on their personal playlists.  

Stay Single

Because of these things I would say it’s way better to release songs as you go as singles.  It gives regular opportunity to have something new to be talking about on social media, talking about the new songs I think keeps people interested. I don't see the benefit to having an EP or album online.  Physical CDs / vinyls maybe, but who really wants those anymore - they are just not practical.

Why the resurgence for vinyl?

Possibly this is to do with quality.  Vinyl is better than a squashed MP3 file, and will always sound better, but nothing beats CD quality.  We have had to put sound quality as a secondary priority compared to availability.  The vinyl format also allows us to experience beautiful artwork in a tactile format.

I've noticed people started talking about HD music. That said, the CD should win that war because technically they are higher replication quality than a vinyl. Looks like another Betamax vs VHS outcome!  And as for releasing stuff on tapes - why! just why?!  Very unfriendly format - can't skip, they can stretch, only good for the car 'back in the day'!

Advantages of physical copies

If I was at a gig and the artist said you can get all my music online, or buy a CD afterwards for £5, I reckon most would not buy the CD - why? -  because they can get home and stream everything released on Spotify, and if they are on Spotify free or sat on their WIFI - they don't even have to pay.  It’s massively bad that artists are not getting just reward from the streams - another topic!

I think the physical format at a gig could work if you have something on it that they can't get anywhere else - then the audience feels like they are special and have access to something no one else does.  Especially if you played them that extra song at the gig and they loved it.

Skipping to the last track

In my humble opinion, I would recommend releasing singles, perhaps consider a special physical EP with an extra track that is not released online.

Let’s work together

Today I help singers and songwriters explore their own potential.  I encourage them to see new ways to view their creative chaos, working alongside to structure them into fully finished songs they are proud of.

Contact me and let’s begin that journey together…


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