Despite the music industry becoming more and more digitalized, people are still drawn to CDs and vinyl records, as it is still enjoyable to have a physical copy of your favorite music. If you are a music enthusiast, it’s more than likely that you have stumbled upon the term ‘LP.’ But where does it come from and what does it refer to in modern times? Here you can learn more about this concept.
What Is LP?
In music, the term LP stands for ‘long-playing’ and it was originally used to refer to vinyl records, more specifically a 33-rpm microgroove record. Just as the name suggests, the appearance of LP records gave an opportunity for musicians to record longer pieces of music. At first, each side of the LP vinyl record lasted a maximum of 23 minutes, but it was later increased by several minutes. These types of records have not become a thing of the past, as they are still used to this day. There are a number of bands that like to bring more ‘analog’ sound to their records, and this is where an LP record becomes the right solution.
With the appearance of digital formats, LP meaning music has become broader. These days, when a person says LP when talking about a certain album, it just means that this is a full album regardless of the media. The situation is similar to when modern artists continue calling their albums ‘records’ even when they are available solely in digital form. When there are 10 or 12 tracks on an album, even if there is no physical copy of it, it can be considered LP.
How is LP Different from EP?
There is another common music term that is confused with LP, and it is EP. While LP can be used interchangeably with a full album, the same cannot be said about EP. Traditionally, it is a shorter recording that has fewer tracks compared to LP.
It is important to note that these days these terms are not as exact as they have been before. For instance, a musician may come out with an EP album containing 10 tracks if their usual number of tracks is 18. In the same way, a jazz or metal band may record just 7 songs, and they’ll make a full-on LP album, especially if each song is over 6 minutes long. The terms are quite relative and depend a lot on the style of the band, their discography, and marketing. The general rule is that anything under 30 minutes in duration is categorized as EP while albums that offer more than 30 minutes of listening content are LP.
LP as a Full-Length Album in Our Times
Just like in other spheres, there are a lot of music terms that have either lost the connection with their original meaning or gained additional ones. The latter can be said about LP, as vinyl records have become a lot less widespread, yet the term continues to exist even when the majority of music is sold in the digital form.
What are your favorite LPs? Are there any other music terms you want to know more about? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!