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Old 10-24-2000, 11:47 AM
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I know that LP stands for Longer Playing, since it was the new kind of record that came out. What does EP stand for then? Extra Playing? Easy Playing? Eraser Playing? Evil Playing? I can't figure it out.
Old 10-24-2000, 11:53 AM
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Extended Play. You know, longer than a 45 single (remember those?), but not a full-length album.
Old 10-24-2000, 12:06 PM
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Delta-9 is correct as to the acronym. I'm pretty sure Extended Play is literal in that the speed of the turntable has to be adjusted thus making for actual "extended" play.

78 speed records were all EP weren't they?
Old 10-24-2000, 12:30 PM
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Not quite right. And EP (Extended Play) was usually a disk that had two songs per side (four songs total). I'm pretty sure they were 45 rpm. The format was popular in Britain (some Beatles songs were only released on EP over there originally), but less so in the U.S.

A 78 rpm disk could hold less than 5 minutes of music. This was much too short for classical music (a classical recording on 78 rpm consisted of a bunch of separate disks, kept together in a thick book called an "album" due to its resemblance to a photo album -- the origin of the term). CBS developed the LP (33 1/3 rpm) to allow classical music where you could hear an entire symphony on one disk (and, no, the length of music that fit on a disk was not set up to accomodate any particular classical piece). Since classical music was up to 40% of all the records sold in the late 40s, there was a big market for this.
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Old 10-24-2000, 12:31 PM
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EP = Extended Play. Delta-9 is correct.

EPs were a little longer than singles (one side might contain one long piece of music, or two shorter pieces of music, for example) but shorter than full-length LPs. EPs allowed for longer versions of songs than the shorter versions of the same songs that were produced for radio airplay, so EPs were good for club-mix dance music, and other uses (a "free bonus EP" was sometimes included with an LP).

But while it was easy to identify an LP (12 inches, 33-and-a-third RPM) and a single (7 inches, 45 RPM), it was not so easy to identify an EP. I remember some 12-inch EPs that were played at 45 while others were played at 33. Similarly, I recall 7-inch EPs that were played at 33 while others were played at 45. You had to read the label to know the speed; there were no standards as with LPs and singles.

78 speed records were all EP weren't they?
No. They were the singles of their day, though they were 10 inches and held up to about five or six minutes of music. But they were around before any LP or other designation--78s were simply known as "records" since there was no other size or speed available for music purchased by a consumer. You couldn't call 78s "extended plays" since there was no comparison. Extended compared to what?

Classical music fans were thankful when LPs came in. With about 20 minutes of recording space available on one side of the record (as opposed to the 78's ceiling of five or six), records could hold longer pieces of music--like two movements of a symphony, one per side--and these kind of records became known as Long Playing records, or LPs.

Although I am unaware of a date, it would seem to me that the EP (longer than a single, shorter than an LP) would have to come after the LP.
Old 10-24-2000, 12:56 PM
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In the old days:

LPs were 12" (sometimes 10" in the old old days) played at 33 1/3 rpm

Singles were 7" played at 45 rpm

EPs were 7" but played at 33 1/3 rpm so you could get 2 tracks per side - popular in the 60s

12" Singles are relatively recent used for extended versions of (usually) dance tracks at 45 rpm
Old 10-24-2000, 01:09 PM
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Originally posted by ticker

EPs were 7" but played at 33 1/3 rpm so you could get 2 tracks per side - popular in the 60s
Hmm. I had thought that EPs were originally 7", 45 rpm (just like singles), but contained more songs. Are you sure, ticker? (I'm willing to be wrong here)

In any case, I've seen 7" records at both 45 and 33 1/3 rpm and 12" records at both 45 and 33 1/3 rpm labelled as EPs (the 12" variety being confined to 80s music); the only commonality being (as pointed out before) that they have more music than a single and less than an album.
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Old 10-24-2000, 01:19 PM
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One more usage:

When a band records a CD at my studio that is fewer songs than a "full-length" CD (say, for example, 4 to 5 tunes), that is also referred to as an EP.

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