STYLE-235: Mini-album RG type poll

This was last voted on in 2014, where the decision was not to make the change since opinions were close to 50/50 (the old discussion is available in the mailing list archive). There’s been a fair amount of discussion on this recently again (e.g. on this edit), so I thought I’d check whether the community opinion has changed significantly in the 8 years since. You can choose up to 2 answers, e.g. if you’re fine with either using a specific existing type or creating a new one, or if you’re fine with using EP with or without a rename.

  • Use EP RG type for mini-album
  • Use EP RG type for mini-album, and rename to EP/Mini-Album
  • Use Album RG type for mini-album
  • Create Mini-Album RG type
0 voters

I personally find the answer by lixobix convincing: [mb-style] RFV STYLE-282: add "mini-album" primary type

The linked Wikipedia article gives a good description, and the provided examples are clearly not EPs to me.

Does anyone have an example of an artist/label where EP and mini-album are not used interchangeably? In other words, is there a discography where it makes sense to separate "EP"s from "Mini Album"s?

In Japanese music, per CDや配信作品で使われる「EP」ってなに? - 音楽ナタリー, they are often used interchangeably:

original Japanese text



On the other hand, as for the difference between “EP” and “mini-album,” I was struck by one label staff member who said, "EP is cooler, and mini-album seems old-fashioned. For the younger generation, the term “EP,” which was used before they were born, seems to be more roundabout and fresh. In the heyday of CDs, “maxi-singles” and “mini-albums” were segregated to some extent in terms of number of songs, concept, and package design, etc. Today, “mini-albums” are increasingly being replaced by "EPs. Of course, “mini-albums” are still used, and the reality seems to be that industry insiders have different perceptions of the term.

This is presumably why the previous Style Leader, and current Style Leader, say we have been using EP for mini-albums for over a decade.

I can think of many examples where it would be confusing to try to separate "EP"s from "ミニアルバム"s, such as:

  1. FINAL FANTASY VII ADVENT CHILDREN COMPLETE Mini Album - EP - Square Enix example from 2009
  2. ミニアルバム『誰か、海を。EP』 - Sony Music example from 2014
  3. BANG!!! - Sony Music example from last year
  4. それを人は“青春”と呼んだ - Sony Music example from next week
  5. The first 3 “EPs” currently listed in the 配信限定 section of FINAL FANTASY XIV Original Soundtrack Portal | SQUARE ENIX are declared as "ミニアルバム"s.
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The ambiguity in definitions of these terms is what drives me crazy. The edit that sparked this round of discussion is about an RG that was marked as EP that has over an hour of content in 12 tracks, which, in my mind, is clearly an “album,” but either the artist or label calls “mini-album.” Artist intent can be just wrong.


The mailing list post I linked to above gives a few examples for mini-albums. I quote it here in its entirety:

+1 from me

Here are some examples of mini-albums:

Obviously, not all releases will consistently called one or the other, but
in cases such as the two above mini-album should be used.

I’d put something like this in the guidelines:

“A Mini-Album (or Mini-LP) is a release that is in between EP and Album in
terms of number of tracks and length. The number of tracks is around 7-9,
and the length varies from around 20-35 mins. There is no strict definition
along these terms, as many EPs and Albums fit these criteria. What is
important is that the artist or label consistently refers to the release as
a Mini-Album. Where this is not the case, notably where Mini-Album and EP
are used interchangeably, EP should be used.”

These examples all have 8-9 tracks and a total running time between 20 to 35 minutes, so for me these are clearly no EPs. But both U2 and The Pixies have releases that definitely can be categorized as EPs.

Is U2 > Discography > Albums > Under a Blood Red Sky (Under a Blood Red Sky - Wikipedia /) really a “mini album”? I don’t see the phrase included in either the Wikipedia article or the artist’s official website. So I’m not sure this satisfies my desire to see an artist/label that explicitly uses both “EP” and “Mini Album” to mean separate parts of their discography.

I don’t think that’s how Release Group primary type works in MusicBrainz. Single is pretty explicitly defined, but EP is currently not - however, as I’ve already said, MusicBrainz has had a de facto practice for mini album for over a decade, endorsed by multiple Style Leaders.

There isn’t currently any Style guideline on using Primary Type yet, but I’m pretty sure we go with whatever the artist/label says.

Release length doesn’t really matter anyway, e.g.,

Sometimes a maxi-single will have more tracks than an EP but as it’s all alternate versions of the same 2-3 songs it is still classified as a single.


can confirm. this release is called an EP most everywhere on the release, but it has 8 bonus tracks and one hidden track* which makes it album-length

*all 9 tracks aren’t listed on the back cover

I don’t personally have much experience with mini-albums, but after reading the Wikipedia article, I think it’d be a good addition~ I’d prefer a new type, but EP/Mini-album would be alright

I’m confused why there’s a 19-to-1 majority here, but a 50/50 split there.

It’s one of the examples on the Wikipedia article about mini-albums. It’s also called a mini-album elsewhere, e.g. or U2 > Discography > Limited Editions > U2.Communication

Anyway, I definitely would not put this together with EPs. It’s definitely closer to an album than an EP. And if it was marketed as a mini-album and this was a common term used for similar releases this warrants a new type IMHO.

From the examples I’ve seen they are closer to an album than to an EP. So if we don’t get a new type the “Use Album RG type for mini-album” would be more fitting.

To me, definitions of Album and EP are already fuzzy.

Some bands will call a 6 tracks 35 minutes duration an EP, some others an album, or a mini album. Sometimes bands uses EP and mini-album interchangeably, for the same release.

I’m always bothered with those, for example, sometimes there’s a release group for an EP (let’s 4 tracks, 25 minutes), but the band releases an extended version of it adding 3 tracks and 15 minutes (7 tracks, 40 minutes), since that’s an extended version of a previously released EP, it goes in the same RG. But would an user search in EP marked RG for this release?

I’m not against adding mini-album as a new RG type, but I’m not sure it will help anyone over EP / mini-album.

Slightly off topic, but current layout is awful on artist’s page, listing by RG type then by date (with singles before EPs), and adding a new type will not help in this regard.



MA is using similar types (note, no mini-album either) but list releases in chronological order first, bold for full-length, I find it much easier to read.

Back to topic, I have no strong opinion about adding or not mini-album, but I don’t see much bands using this over EP, perhaps it depends on music field though.

For sure, choosing between single, EP and album is the most annoying part of adding a release (group) for me, sometimes I would intuitively add something as EP but notice the band calls it an album, sometimes that’s the reverse, sometimes I have no indication at all (and then rely on number of tracks / durations, without having a clear definition)… Overall that’s not that bad, but I don’t feel RG type is a very valuable information, since a short album and a long EP don’t differ much anyway.


@reosarevok here is even more old discussion about this, the pre-RFC/RFV proposal:

[mb-style] Pre-RFC-MAMS. RG Type options : [MINI] ALBUM / [MAXI] SINGLE

The initial request was about having a mini checkbox attribute to the existing album type.
But it was not possible, if I remember correctly.

Maybe it’s only anectodical, but I had that case on 2012-05-23, mini album and EP types for the same artist:

Today’s OHP has no text zones / annotations for more info than broad categories:

Their mobile OHP discography does have 絆 in MINI ALBUM and has 4 Digital EP in SINGLES, including a 1 track version of 絆 and BEGINNING OF THE RESURRECTION

In their label site, they mention the types, but only for physical releases:

  • ミニアルバム (mini album)

I think we need all 3 variants: EP, Mini-Album and EP/Mini-Album.
The first two should only be used when they are explicitly printed on the release.
A discussion about different properties or correct definitions seems to be very difficult. I remember that at least in most cases EP’s where released with 45 rpm and Mini-Albums with 33 rpm. But that’s just for vinyl.
If we have all three, we don’t have to make difficult and maybe controversial decisions.

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japanese band sumika has used both ep & minialbum (granted they haven’t used minialbum since their indie days) but it has been done.

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Yes, maybe you can tell if this example is similar to mine?

For Galneryus, EP is close to single, it will usually contain at least an A-side from the upcoming album.
Notice that we do have a relationship to link singles and EP to the album they take their A-side from.

And mini album is more like album (hence the name), with its own tracks.

…typically, I assume. though on my Five Iron Frenzy example above, none of the tracks were released on an “album”, just on “Quantity is Job 1 EP”.

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An interesting quote from this RFV:

It would be a pity to add some big feature but it is not very much used.

But on the other hand we have these artists who really have EP and mini albums, distinctly.

I have not found my vote, yet. :thinking:

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… oh yes, but there are also non-album singles, with only non-album tracks! :laughing:
So, owh… :sob:

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Isn’t this a Region thing? Bit like “Maxi-Singles” that exist in Europe, but never used as a term in the UK. Some areas that “mini-album” will be listed in an Album list, other places it will be under EPs.

Pesky artists not agreeing to a world wide standard… :rofl:

Personally I would not use “mini-album” anywhere. And worry that arguments may start up over the length of a short album being forced into a new category. There needs to be a “Artist Intent” that over-rides these at some point.

A short album in the UK is usually still an album. Put on the shelf with the rest of the albums.

I would prefer to look at the Artist’s own website and see how they list their releases. If a “mini-album” is listed with other albums in a discography, then it is an album. EP being a more common use of “not really enough tracks for a full album”.

It is confusing now in the Digital world as it is so much easier to release music making “singles” being tagged to “here is a track I have just created”. So a mini-album can appear much quicker as the artist does not have to plan production lines, pressing CDs, and creating album artwork.