Regardless of the genre that is. In the thousands of submissions we’ve had to go through thus far, we noticed a couple of stone-set patterns for subpar EPs, good EPs, and phenomenal EPs. This is what you should avoid, apply, keep track of, abide by, and everything else in between.
7. Do NOT put all your best songs in the beginning only!
If you don’t have a stellar quality for your entire EP you should probably refrain from publishing one but… many of you are artists who get the release itch and put out material nonetheless. And since you know that the first impression is the strongest, most of you tend to pack your first third of the EP with really good songs and line up the rest of the album with subpar or old, shelved songs. Take a moment. Breathe. Now stop and promise yourself to never ever again do this rookie mistake. Why? While an 18-year old might care about the first songs only, adults and people consuming music on a daily basis actually would rather listen to 10 seconds of 10 different songs before making a final impression. So when we go and skip listen to all of your tracks and realize in the first minute that only your first songs are your best ones, we’re gonna keep it moving and so will everyone else. That means you half-assed your release and can’t guarantee me, the listener, a steady and constant contribution to my playlist. Having the entire catalog sound great is what will convert a first-timer into a fan or lose them altogether.
6. Keep the sound somewhat homogenous!
A real turn-off is starting the EP with a boom-bap sound and halfway through your music style switches to an EDM-based beat for example. While we do encourage you to diversify your characteristic sound basis, do not alter it to the point that it might turn away your biggest fans. Decide what your common denominator for all songs on your EP is and stick to it. Give the audience the much-needed familiarity in order to warm up to your music catalog.
5. Do NOT put up only collab songs!
No nice way to go about this one. If we listen to your EP for the first time and we can’t figure out which one of the many voices is yours, you got a big, fat, ugly problem. Under no circumstance should you ever have more collab songs than songs you carry by yourself. This just transmits all kinds of wrong messages: you need other artists to help you sell your music, you are uncomfortable carrying the beat on your own, you haven’t found your comfortable spot yet, you are trying too hard to be acknowledged, this was done for promotional reasons and there’s not quality value to it, etc.
4. Have a story-like song order!
Write out (if you haven’t already) all of your songs’ lyrics and see if you can fit them into a story. The EP is much easier for your fans and new listeners to remember if they tie up into a narrative with a beginning, middle section, and ending. And make sure you talk about it in your press and interviews. When you’re not famous, people don’t dissect everything as much so you need to guide your audience towards knowing you better!
3. Please use a good cover artwork.
Yes, we know. It almost sounds like us begging you, the artist. Well, that is because we are. Seriously, why are so many of you botching your potential with low quality or selfie covers? Most of you are incredibly good looking yet you don’t take advantage of your youth and appealing looks. Read more on a perfect cover artwork HERE. You know we ain’t lying and YOU KNOW you are losing fans by not maximizing every single element that goes into your brand image.
2. Do NOT overuse interludes.
One or two is fine. On a really tolerant day, maybe even three. But when every two songs your fans have to hear some incomprehensible phone recording, that just dilutes the EP’s power way too much. You are not an A-lister. Not yet. Thus people will only listen to your music at the moment, not necessarily to your girlfriend’s rants over the phone.
1. Do NOT compile songs that don’t reflect you anymore.
Everyone and everything changes. Some more, some less. If you’re thinking of adding songs from 10 years ago, unless they absolutely still fit with who you are in the present moment, don’t do it. Do you know the cringe level on a curator’s side when you say “oh yeah I put that bonus track from back when I was trying to sing”, uhm… *insert huge face palm* Why? Why? Why? If that’s not who you are anymore, don’t push it alongside your new material! We want to know you NOW!