An extended play record, usually referred to as an EP, is a musical recording that contains more tracks than a single but less than an album or LP record. Contemporary EPs generally contain four or five tracks, and are considered "less expensive and time-consuming" for an artist to produce than an album. An EP originally referred to specific types of records other than 78 rpm standard play (SP) and LP, but it is now applied to mid-length CDs and downloads as well.
Ricardo Baca of The Denver Post said, "EPs—originally extended-play 'single' releases that are shorter than traditional albums—have long been popular with punk and indie bands." In the United Kingdom, the Official Chart Company defines a boundary between EP and album classification at 25 minutes of maximum length and no more than four tracks (not counting alternative versions of featured songs, if present).
Mini-albums and EPs are shorter than full-length albums and usually contain four or five songs [...] They are less expensive and time-consuming in production than albums, and they help to popularize new groups who otherwise lack the number of songs required for a full-length album.