Have you ever looked at your music on Spotify or iTunes and wondered why are they calling it an EP and not an album? Or maybe it’s been classed as a single and not an EP?

Well, in this post we’re going to take a look at how Spotify and iTunes determine just what an album, EP or a single is, so you’ll know what to expect.

You know, I’ve never been that comfortable with how I name my releases. Do I call it an album, EP or single? For me I’ll just be honest, it’s just a release.

But you know what, I suppose it might be important to know what your release is categorised as on the likes of Spotify and iTunes as it determines where it’s actually placed and, in some cases, named.

So, with that in mind, let’s jump in and have a look at how Spotify and iTunes categorise our music releases.

Let’s start with Spotify.

So, Singles. Spotify will categorise your release as a single if the release has up to 3 tracks and is under 30 minutes in length. Each track has to be less than 10 minutes long unless it’s just a single track

An EP on Spotify has 4 – 6 tracks and is also under 30 minutes in length but it can actually just be 2 – 3 tracks if at least one is over 10 minutes long.

Placement-wise, Singles and Eps are put together on Spotify.

An album on Spotify has 7 tracks or more OR is over 30 minutes. They’re placed above the Singles and EPs section.

Now let’s move onto iTunes.

Singles in iTunes have 1 – 3 tracks where each track must be less than 10 minutes. iTunes will also add “- Single” at the end of the release name if it isn’t already included.

EPs in iTunes have 1 – 3 tracks where one is at least 10 minutes long, or it can be a total of 4 – 6 tracks. The total length of an EP is 30 minutes or less. iTunes will also add “- EP” at the end of the release name if it isn’t already included.

Albums in iTunes therefore have 7 tracks or more, or a running time of over 30 minutes.

Albums, Eps and Singles are initially grouped together by bestselling in iTunes, however they follow the same pattern as Spotify in Apple Music by grouping the EPS and Singles together.

Exceptions

Although these are guidelines for how these streaming services handle our releases, I have come across some exceptions. Take this Burial release for example, It’s listed as an EP even though it’s less than 30 minutes, has two tracks where each is less than 10 minutes in length – so what’s up with that?

I haven’t found an answer to this but my initial guess would be that it was assigned as an EP via the distributor, somehow. If I come across the answer I’ll update this accordingly!

Conclusions

And that’s pretty much it but does knowing how they’ll appear within these streaming services influence your music making in any way?

Will you be more likely to aim for making an album, so iTunes doesn’t add anything to your release title – or combine it with Eps and Singles?

To be honest I’m actually not too bothered, I was just curious on how our releases are categorised and I like to pass on the information. That said, I don’t like that our release names can be affected in this way as that’s part of the art isn’t it? They may as well put a big sticker on the cover.



DIY Hard! Join me on Patreon

Want to get early access to DIY Musician Guide video & posts, as well as behind the scenes content? Get all that and more for just $1 a month when you support what I do and become a patron.