Another approach to deal with the changing consumption habits due to streaming is the opposite of long albums. Releasing EPs, singles, or short collections of songs. Robyn already did this a few years ago when she released three EPs in one year. Her argument is that it’s easy for her to stay inspired as she doesn’t have to empty herself completely for a full album and afterwards it doesn’t take two years until she has the next finished. We see this often nowadays, an artist has to release music constantly to not be forgotten and not everyone has such an immense production of new songs like Drake. Also, by releasing short EPs the quality might not suffer as much, because artists are probably less tempted to include weak songs.
Many rising pop artists are following this strategy. Anne-Marie as well as Due Lipa both have various successful singles and features but haven’t released an album yet. Raye is featured on two major successful songs and has only released one EP to date. And Zara Larrson has just released her album, but has been releasing singles since 2015, which are all featured on the album. It feels unnecessary for her to release an album, it doesn’t feel like it’s being used as an art form, it’s only a marketing move to create a few more streams and bit more attention. In my opinion, all of those artists don’t need to release an album anymore, singles and EPs fully fulfil their fans needs. The album has a different value here, it’s not an art form, a way to express a story, it’s more like a playlist to keep fans engaged.
EPs are more affordable to make, they keep fans up-to-date as they can be released more frequently and are a good way to approach new listeners. It’s worth investing in and working on singles for a while, that way streaming services will place them on their playlists. They like to see labels investing time in promoting singles, album tracks are rarely featured on playlists.
EPs and singles are definitely the right way of marketing and breaking a new pop artist in the era of streaming services, where artists make less money from recorded music, but constantly have to create new content.