Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > What's the difference in an "E.P." and a "Mini-L.P." ?

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AlexRocks user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 09 May 08, 23:43 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

What's the difference in an "E.P." and a "Mini-L.P."? The reason I am asking is that Brian May And Friends' release "Star Fleet" is described as a "Mini-L.P." yet is only three songs...so why would it not be an "E.P."?

At what point does the lenght of the songs change the decription?

Prince also has some release that is four songs but they are fifteen minutes each. Would that be an "E.P." or an "L.P."?


Am I asking what the difference in a "Small Mountain" and a "Large Hill" are? Hells bells.

Serry... user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 10 May 08, 02:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Queen's EP lasts for over 14 mins. Brian's mini LP lasts for over 28 mins. That's the difference. Up to 20 mins it's EP, up to 30 - it's mini LP.

brENsKi user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 10 May 08, 05:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

thought that there might be an added element to this also about rpm.
e.p.s were usually 7" singles (extended to play more audio than the usualy a/b side single) playing at 45 rpm
whereas mini lps should usually lay at 33rpm


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Posted: 10 May 08, 09:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Serry... wrote:

Queen's EP lasts for over 14 mins. Brian's mini LP lasts for over 28 mins. That's the difference. Up to 20 mins it's EP, up to 30 - it's mini LP.


So according to this the UK vinyl maxi single for You Don't Fool Me is a mini-lp?
And the Italian vinyl maxi single We We Rock You / We Are The Champions (live at wembley) would be an EP?

My thoughts:

Originally the term EP was used for singles in the 50's and 60's wich had the same format as normal singles but contained 4 songs instead of the usual 2 song singles. To point out the difference between a 2 song record and the 4 song record to the costumers record companies invented the term EP. (i guess this means extended play)

With the massive release of maxi singles in the 80's the EP became a less populair format to release 4 songs on. Maxi singles are more suitable for this because if you press 4 songs on a 12" vinyl record obviously the sound is better than it would be if those same 4 songs are pressed on a 7" vinyl record (EP)

Basically nowadays the maxi single wich contains 3 or more songs is what used to be an EP. A single PLUS some extra songs.
The maxi single wich contains only two songs is a normal single in "maxi" format. A single wich produces better sound because the same two songs are pressed on 12" vinyl instead of 7" vinyl.
In order to sell 12" releases AND 7" releases record companies invented the remix / extended version.

Star fleet was released in 80's. I think Brian May (or EMI) didn't find the term maxi single suitable for the "star fleet project"
I think they felt it was more of an album, instead of a typical 80's maxi single. To make this clear to the costumer they came up with the term mini LP. They easily could have used the term EP, but because most people associate that with a 7" or 10" format, they choose to use the term mini-lp





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Posted: 10 May 08, 11:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

"So according to this the UK vinyl maxi single for You Don't Fool Me is a mini-lp?
And the Italian vinyl maxi single We We Rock You / We Are The Champions (live at wembley) would be an EP?"

You've answered yourself.

"With the massive release of maxi singles in the 80's the EP became a less populair format to release 4 songs on. Maxi singles are more suitable for this. Basically nowadays the maxi single wich contains 3 or more songs is what used to be an EP."

Queen's EP was released in 1977, Star Fleet in 1983, the releases you're talking about were released in the 90s. Rules are changing...

Maxi CD - 25 mins, no more than 4 songs + alternative versions. ( http://www.theofficialcharts.com/docs/Official%20UK%20Charts%20Singles%20Rules%20October%202007.pdf )

Freddie Mercury Video EP is over 14 mins
Barcelona Video EP is over 11 mins (just 3 videos!)
The Works Video EP is over 17 mins
The Miracle Video EP is over 17 mins

but

The Great Pretender Video Single is less than 10 mins
AKOM/WWTLF Video Single is about 8 mins.

In our days EPs (which are still exist as the 'name', remember all those 46664 downloads?) are up to 25 mins, i.e. like maxi singles in some way. It's more like combination of number of tracks and their timings, than just "4 tracks = EP".

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Posted: 10 May 08, 17:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Easy, lets be honest, an E.P sells at the same price as a single. A 'mini L.P' sells at album price.

That is all.

Argument over.

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Posted: 10 May 08, 21:26 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

To this discussion I'd add that singles, now matter what format were all based on one song, sometimes two, which the band/record company wanted to promote.

In The Beatles days, the original UK albums didn't feature many of the singles ("She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand,") though they were usually recorded during those sessions. Singles got on the radio, making bands popular and albums were an entirely different entity.

Then the album as a work of art unto itself began to take more prominence in the late '60s (Rubber Soul, The Beach Boy's 'Pet Sounds,' Sgt. Pepper, etc.) By the '70s, singles usually were songs from an album, played on the radio to promote the album and band (who were often touring). Also, by this time, E.P.s were becoming a rarely used method of releasing songs, as you tended to only need the album and its regular single. "Regular" would be two songs. The A side was the potential hit and the B-side was either and a middling album track or (if fans were lucky) a non-album track.

(There are exceptions to everything and sometimes B-sides tied or beat out the A-side in popularity: "We Will Rock You" was a B-side in most territories, as was Rod Stewart's "Maggie May").

So, though artists still call singles "E.P."s on occassion, they're a mass-market rarity most of the time. By the dawn of CDs, two songs on a single wasn't ussually enough. Three or four became the rule. You still had your "hit" song leading it off and either album or non-album tracks, but just as likely you'd get some other rarity (BBC take, demo or remix).

Star Fleet Project wasn't an E.P. because it wasn't promoting an accompanying album and was too lengthy in original material to be a stand-alone single (like Freddie's "The Great Pretender" single, which had no album in 1987). As someone said in a previous post, they split the difference and made up "Mini-LP" (Mini Long Play album).

The amount of original material, in my opinion, is a key to understanding the semantics of calling a release a single, E.P. or album (or mini-album). An hour-long CD of five remixes of a single track has little original material on it, so "You Don't Fool Me" Remix singles of the '90s aren't even E.P.s (Extended Play singles). It's not about sheer length.