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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Music General Discussion »

Permalink Credibility of EP Releases vs Full Length in Surf, Opinions Please!

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I have learned a lot from this thread...although some opinions differ from my own, this chat gives some insight into the ever-changing world of recorded music as promotional material and how people consume it. And what the differences are between surf music and other music pertaining to that consumption What is the value of music?
For me, I am writing surf and surf-ish instros that I plan to put out to the world over the next 6 mos. Totally a vanity project of self-indulgence.

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Last edited: Feb 14, 2019 18:47:11

raito wrote:

Using some bad metaphor here:

Albums are like books. EPs are more like magazines. Songs are like stories. Or chapters.

A book can be a novel or it can be an anthology if short stories.

In a novel, sometimes there's a chapter that doesn't make sense on its own but only makes sense as part of the larger story. On an album, that can seem like filler. But it isn't.

An anthology can just be a bunch of stories, or stories with a theme, or stories that tell a story all their own.

Imagine how hard it is to write a book where every chapter stands on its own and still contributes to the overall story.

Some albums are just that, albums of work which mesh and support one another, Carole King's Tapestry comes to mind. As I mentioned earlier, Donald Fagan's Kamakiriad was certainly a coherent work, as was Nightly, years before.

But there are all sorts of examples out there of every possible approach to creating an album. Some are planned and beautiful works, others are hodgepodge collections of whatever scraps the record company had in their vaults from a given artist. That's the point; of course there are great albums, I own numerous examples, but there is some real garbage out there too. In the days of the big record companies, albums weren't put out by artists, they were put out by the record company. Record companies could accept or refuse what an artist offered and they would use the material they thought they could sell. They also knew that if there were three strong tracks on an album, they could sell that album easily, so why not hold the best material back and use it in another year? They usually had all sorts of unreleased material they could use and they would, when they felt the time was right. For example, Waylon Jennings was on A&M before he became a star on RCA. At one point, A&M took old master they owned of Waylon tunes and released them as an album. Heart changed labels back in the mid seventies and their old label released an unauthorized album (Magazine) a month after their new label released Little Queen.

My initial point in all of this is that the medium influences creative decisions. When 78s were all there was, songs tended to be less than 5 minutes long, because of technical limitations. When LPs came along, There was about 22 minutes per side, which changed things completely. Then 45s came along and the era of the radio friendly single was upon us. each step placed difference restrictions and different pressures upon artists, A&R men and labels.

Now media is far different and the same definitions (album, for instance) don't necessarily retain the same significance. I don't see an EP, or even a literal single, as having any less credibility then an album.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
My Guitar WebSite
Dead Thread

Last edited: Feb 14, 2019 18:46:28

Just to expand upon my earlier thoughts, nowadays, the labels don't have the same clout and artists have much more creative control than they used to. The pressures to include filler are gone, unless someone feels the need to use all available space on a CD.

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

When Surf Guitar is outlawed only outlaws will play Surf Guitar.
My Guitar WebSite
Dead Thread

Spot on - most bands out there have no development support or a team to tell them "Hey your screwing up" or even the development time if they are a signed act. Its much like are you going to be a plumber with one truck or develop a plan to have a fleet of trucks with many employees, its really at that level of organization skill set and business plan type stuff. Many bands never consider what would they do if they actually had success at anything or how they would even to handle that if they did.

As far as "Totally a vanity project of self-indulgence." You have to have that to be in music and be successful at it. It is a total ego driven industry and just as brutal as pro-sports and the turn-over is about the same as well. Most that make the cut fail, and the average time for big success is about 4 years - just like sports - yes some make it decades (but their good or have material that lasts the test of time). People don't understand how good you have to be and dedication it would take to stay in the game even on a small level. That's why I say - have the best songs you got on a EP and trash the rest or re-do them etc...

Most artists that have success now have pro song writers in the loop (as many as three co-writers) Its a tough competition now to beat a team of writers. But even if a band only wants to get better gigs - a recording of the best material they perform is a must to get the gig. But bands could do the same thing as a group like that if they developed the skill sets to write.

The music Biz chews up bands every minute and spits them out, but there are always more for the feast to come down the road, The turn over is incredible really when you think of it. Same at the club level - its like every 4 years I see new bands (Ok some new bands are made up of the same players from different bands) but its still a tough racket. What I see is the money just runs out after a while, usually there is a benefactor that supply's the difference on losses and eventually that dries up and the band dies at some point and signed acts are only given a short while to prove themselves as well. You be surprised how many major artists were cut from labels numerous times before they made it. So have the best material on your promotional EP because your going up against the best.

Thanks to ElMonstroPorFavor and his 2018 compilation of nearly every surf release in 2018, I have been going through the list and listening to many releases. I admit that much of my efforts have been spent finding high impact new material. Music that stands out for content and sonic pop. Some of my favorite new music I have found was in an EP format. These 4 or 5 song releases had more impact to me then full blown releases for their content.

I am definitely heading in that direction for our next release.

One potential marketing idea I might have, with the thought that we in surf basically write our own rules, is for the surf labels to think about releasing two EP's onto one disk. In other words take the works of two similar styles and combine them into one release. This is probably not that important of an idea but having to change the CD after 20 minutes might be a limitation for an EP format. For ex: If you love Satan's Pilgrims, then you probably also love The Tormentos. If they have both released an EP, then combine them into one CD for release. Just and idea.

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 05:05:20

Yes a compilation CD of two EP's would be a better idea - but I think CD is a spent force in todays markets anyway. How about just one YouTube of various bands on the same video (I never see that). Get a few bands on here to put all their best songs on one video etc or a complication download might work - Ok this could be a logistics nightmare. But I never see that much outside of playlists of separate video's or its a live show on one video - but studio recordings are usually better sound and production wise. Most bands only post their own songs on separate video's etc. More than likely you will lose money with a EP whether in Vinyl or CD anyway, so just skip that part and go on download site or YouTube (You already have stuff on there anyway.) Most bands have downloads on their own site which is a hard sell being music download sites have more traffic on the net.

See originally bands just posted one song or a compilation of sound bites on YouTube as advertising for their downloads or CD sales. Now they all have every song they have on there so people just go there to get the songs, no one will buy songs that's up for free on the net, and on top of that those that do put them up for free later on YouTube anyway, so its a dog chasing his tail when it comes time to monetize music.

Promotion is very important for any band - I think a few books out there on the topic are a little dated now (always check the print date) What worked even ten years ago is outdated now. We might want to check some sites with forums related to that - I never did that- but if anyone knows of a few good ones please post them here for everyone.

A EP promotion is still better than nothing, but is it good enough to really impact a bands career? It probably depends on how big the population is around you and their age group. Some kids today don't even know what a CD is. And even older people use I-Phones more than audio gear.

Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 05:37:49

stratdancer wrote:

One potential marketing idea I might have, with the thought that we in surf basically write our own rules, is for the surf labels to think about releasing two EP's onto one disk. In other words take the works of two similar styles and combine them into one release.

That is a pretty good idea. This way the listener gets the length of a full album, and he also may be introduced to a new band. Something similar has been done with (short) surf albums by Kamikaze records with some hits and misses and also by the Phantom Surfers together with the Tormentos, which is a great record. But to do it on a regular basis, it would need a bit of curating to ensure the combined release also works as a whole. (And you would probably got to have a similar mastering for both EPs.)

Los Apollos - interplanetary surf music trio (Berlin)
"Chaos at the Lobster Lounge" OUT NOW as LP and download on Surf Cookie Records!

simoncoil wrote:

stratdancer wrote:

One potential marketing idea I might have, with the thought that we in surf basically write our own rules, is for the surf labels to think about releasing two EP's onto one disk. In other words take the works of two similar styles and combine them into one release.

That is a pretty good idea. This way the listener gets the length of a full album, and he also may be introduced to a new band. Something similar has been done with (short) surf albums by Kamikaze records with some hits and misses and also by the Phantom Surfers together with the Tormentos, which is a great record. But to do it on a regular basis, it would need a bit of curating to ensure the combined release also works as a whole. (And you would probably got to have a similar mastering for both EPs.)

Good point on the mastering. That complicates the idea!

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

“That is a pretty good idea. This way the listener gets the length of a full album, and he also may be introduced to a new band. Something similar has been done with (short) surf albums by Kamikaze records with some hits and misses and also by the Phantom Surfers together with the Tormentos, which is a great record. But to do it on a regular basis, it would need a bit of curating to ensure the combined release also works as a whole. (And you would probably got to have a similar mastering for both EPs.)”

That is what Ted has done Deep Eddy Records. He has released 2 Three Way volumes featuring 3 bands/3 songs each (full disclosure - USK is on volume 2), and Il Triello (3 bands doing Spaghetti Western tunes). http://deepeddy.net/merch.html

Rev

Home of Surf & Twang

http://www.urbansurfkings.com/
https://www.facebook.com/urbansurfkings/
https://reverbranch.bandcamp.com

Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 07:16:35

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