Dominic Fike
Ep Dominic Fike Large.jpg

The influx of popular contemporary artists releasing EPs is and is likely to continue to be remarkable. In contrast to full-length albums, an EP is clearly defined as "extended play", which essentially means that it is a medium-length album with a length of 4-6 songs (although it may have a little more or less than this range could). . This format used to be popular with artists who wanted to add songs to their released singles, as paying for a full record or CD with just one song would usually not entice fans to pay a higher price. Although some listeners purchase singles, EPs, and albums in both CD and vinyl formats, the vast majority of music listeners tend to stream music online due to the accessibility of the format. Because of this change in the way music is produced for home listeners, the way collections of musical works are published has also changed.

It's not hard to see how quickly the Internet has dramatically changed the way we communicate with the rest of the world. Easy access to online content and streaming platforms has changed the way record labels and independent artists publish music. Building a stable following is a challenge, and it can take years for an artist to perfect an album. Trends and popular artists are changing so quickly in the digital age because of the constant stimulation, and even more so for those deeply connected to social media. Hence, by releasing an EP, artists can offer a steady stream of releases in less time to keep fans interested.

This is exponentially important for new artists trying to build a reliable fan base. Money also has a significant impact on why EPs are becoming more popular, and consistently releasing EPs between album projects generates more reliable income for artists. Instead of being active every few years for the period before and after an album is released (where artists traditionally make the bulk of their money alongside touring), artists with EPs can fill the gaps between albums with marketable content. It's also significantly cheaper for newer artists to release an EP instead of spending twice as much resources and time producing a debut album. In recent years, EPs have grown in popularity and have the potential to keep up with the album's prominence. This forms the framework for why the following contemporary EPs have gained so much popularity.

Don't forget me – Dominic Fike

For an artist with no prior releases (not even singles), the massive popularity of Don & # 39; t Forget About Me is scary. Dominic Fike was a relatively unknown indie hip hop, rock and pop artist from Naples, Florida who released songs on SoundCloud every now and then, then uploaded a demo / EP one fateful day, Don & # 39; t Forget About Me. The result was an intense bidding war between the labels to sign him while he was still in jail. Since the official studio release on the winning label Columbia Records, all six songs on the EP have over twelve million streams on Spotify. The most popular song "3 Nights" has a whopping 618 million streams. Don't Forget About Me is so powerful as a work that it was chosen as the album pick for this site at the height of the EP's popularity in 2018. Fike released the album What Could Possably Go Wrong in 2020 and it still does.It doesn't have half the popularity of Don't Forget About Me. That doesn't mean his career is over or that his debut album isn't always was still popular, but the abrupt fame of Fike's EP was so intense. Since the EP only contains six songs, it is recommended for unfamiliar listeners to try them all out. Dominic Fike's music can best be described as an audible mix of every variation of indie music imaginable, all cohesively combined with soft vocals. Following the slight folk influence in its music, each song has its own plot and mood. Fike also released a music video along with the biggest hit on his EP, "3 Nights", although it is not as important in either release strategy or story as the series of videos created for the following EP.

Love language – UMI

UMI didn't have a dramatic introduction to the music industry like Dominic Fike, but that doesn't mean their debut EP Love Language didn't make an impact. She had released two songs prior to this EP and since its release it has steadily gained recognition and recognition. Now, two years later, every song on the EP has over 5 million streams on Spotify. This is quite a feat for an aspiring artist with just two singles back and no dramatic headline personal information. Despite this limited presence, UMI still released this EP strategically as its notoriety gradually grew. Prior to the anticipated release of Love Language, she toured with Cuco (a popular indie pop artist) in the summer of 2019, which built a budding fan base for her. When their EP was officially released in October, UMI went on another tour as the opener for Conan Gray's Comfort Crowd Tour. This tour allowed her to perform her debut EP across the country. The strategic placement of the release of their EP between two tours with well-known artists has undoubtedly helped increase their audience. I went to a Conan Gray concert and had never heard of UMI's existence; That evening I left the venue with their entire EP stored on my Spotify.

Love Language is not only an EP but also a collection of music videos. UMI did not release the EP all at once, but instead released each "episode" (music video) of the EP on YouTube along with the drop of their respective songs on streaming platforms. It would not be unreasonable to assume that this planned release of songs with their music videos was strategic; We live in a digital age where fans are hungry for as much content as they can get their hands on at the same time. The publication of these videos was not just for marketing, however. The plot of the Love Language episodes is just as important as the music in bringing UMI to life for potential fans. While the EP alone offers comfort to the listener with her velvety R&B voice and honest lyrics, the videos share her sense of humor and quirky creativity. UMI was able to create a cohesive narrative from the four songs on their EP, and it is recommended that new listeners try these videos. With the levels of planning going into the timing and method of release, UMI maximized the benefits of a debut EP.

Sailing – Jhene Aiko
Jhene Aiko

Compared to the other two artists, Jhené Aiko had an unnaturally high profile in the music industry before the release of an EP. She released the single "No LOVE" in 2003, but beyond that there were no solo releases until the EP Sail Out in 2013. Despite this minuscule amount of content, Sail Out achieved success almost instantly because Aiko's voice is so well known in collaboration with some of the music industry's most iconic artists. Aiko appeared in Drake's Nothing Was the Same on "From Time", "Growing Apart (To Get Closer)" in Kendrick Lamar's Overly Dedicated, and "Beware" in Big Sean's Hall of Fame; the total number of streams of these songs is 299 million, 12 million and 210 million, respectively. Due to the great song features Aiko had before her EP was released, her unique voice gained a cult following in the R&B community.

This explains why each song on their subsequent EP had streams from 20 million to 189 million. After so many highly coveted features, this collection of seven songs won over Aikos fans ahead of the release of their debut album Souled Out in 2014. Notice how the titles of the debut EP and the album relate to each other. Aiko's Sail Out is another exceptional example of an artist using an EP to maximize their popularity. This EP gave the world a little taste of Aiko's unique, gentle voice and excruciating R&B music that makes her one of the top artists in the world today. Sailed Out is not recommended for those looking to cheer up, but is great for creating a sense of solidarity in sadness. Aiko has also released a handful of music videos for some of the songs on the EP. The video for "Bed Peace" with Childish Gambino best encapsulates the meaning of both the track and the title of the EP, so it is recommended to watch it although the videos for "The Worst", "Comfort Inn Ending (Freestyle)" , "and" 3:16 AM "could also benefit the listeners.

Sunset Season – Conan Gray
Conan gray

Sunset Season's story is similar to UMI's Love Language. Both EPs are debuts, but Conan Gray did not tour with other popular artists early in his professional career. Instead, Gray started a fan base for his YouTube channel, which was a mix of well-made covers and personal videos about his daily life. Months before the Sunset Season was released in 2018, Gray's covers and other videos consistently received hundreds of thousands of views. This shows that he had already built up a considerable fan base before the release of his EP and was thus able to capitalize more quickly than artists who start from scratch and then open tours for other artists or have to be featured on other songs. Gray also immediately went on tour with the release of Sunset Season, further cementing the steady growth of his popularity as the new face of indie bedroom pop.

Though his preventative fanbase on YouTube doesn't mean Gray didn't have humble beginnings too. According to a tweet, he “started this EP in the bedroom of (his) tiny town and recorded it with a microphone (he had taped it) on a broken lamp,” indicating the humble start of this now famous artist. He is currently the 197th most popular artist in the world according to Spotify streams. Conan Gray's music is best described as indie pop / rock, although Sunset Season is specifically dreamy and sounds more like bedroom pop than his later music, in keeping with the imagined sound of a sunset. His voice is also higher than that of most men, and its suppleness enhances the dreamlike quality of the rest of the instrumentals. The videos for "Crush Culture" and "Generation Why" underline the dreamy sound of the tracks with their faded, often slow-motion visuals. In his later work, more specifically Kid Krow, Gray delves into an emotionally darker and less dreamy sound, but retains the core of his unique singing.


Uniquely, the release of THE FALLING MAN was not a significant turning point in Duckwrth's career. He has been an active punk and hip-hop artist since 2014 and at the time of this release had released three albums and twelve singles in 2019. THE FALLING MAN was also placed two years after the album An Xtra Ugly Mixtape was released and one year before SuperGood. The drop of that EP prevented a three-year (almost four-year) hiatus for Duckwrth, which likely helped keep fans interested. But just because Duckwrth was an established artist at the time of this EP's release doesn't mean it was just a placeholder. There is a lot of storytelling and effort in this EP; In addition to other emotional music videos, he has also created a short film for his songs. On the EP and the short film THE FALLING MAN, Duckwrth deals with a number of profound topics. In the words of the caption on YouTube, this EP is "What happens when your fears manifest and come true. social status and even death itself. " The film itself is divided into nudes like a play, and the costume designs are purposely made to look like typical props you'd see in a live play. This is intended to link the concepts of THE FALLING MAN with the famous works of Shakespeare. There are also intentional classical music influences on the tracks to add to the game-drama atmosphere it is meant to convey; This is most evident in the song "A WILDFIRE". Regardless of the audible quality of the EP alone, the short film is a necessity to fully appreciate Duckwrth's artistry.

The many reasons behind the recent surge in EPs – whether to keep an established artist's following between albums, to give a new artist a starting point before their debut album, or just to make money – explain why they have become important as albums for developing artists. Many newer artists choose to start their careers with a debut EP before their first album and then go on tour with that EP. Hence, critics and websites devoted to the new music have started treating EPs with the same respect as albums. Fans have also started consuming EPs in the same way as albums; this is illustrated by the enormous number of listeners for Conan Gray and UMI after the release of their EPs. In some cases, the songs on an artist's EP can have more streams than their albums, as in the case of Dominic Fike. Although EPs are gaining traction, the artistic benefits of long storylines, which are deeply explored and expanded upon in full-length albums, are likely to endure alongside other unique qualities of albums. But as we move into the digital age and see an ongoing trend towards increasing EP popularity and critical acceptance, the chances are that EPs will at most be given the same importance as full-length albums; Paying attention to them will be crucial for new listeners.


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