Single (music)

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In music, a single is a type of release, typically a song recording of fewer tracks than an LP record or an album. Single (music)_sentence_0

This can be released for sale to the public in a variety of formats. Single (music)_sentence_1

In most cases, a single is a song that is released separately from an album, although it usually also appears on an album. Single (music)_sentence_2

Typically, these are the songs from albums that are released separately for promotional uses such as digital download, or video release. Single (music)_sentence_3

In other cases a recording released as a single may not appear on an album. Single (music)_sentence_4

Despite being referred to as a single, in the era of music downloads, singles can include up to as many as three tracks. Single (music)_sentence_5

The biggest digital music distributor, iTunes Store, accepts as many as three tracks less than ten minutes each as a single. Single (music)_sentence_6

Any more than three tracks on a musical release or thirty minutes in total running time is an extended play (EP) or, if over six tracks long, an album. Single (music)_sentence_7

Historically, when mainstream music was purchased via vinyl records, singles would be released double-sided. Single (music)_sentence_8

That is, they were released with an A-side and B-side, on which two singles would be released, one on each side. Single (music)_sentence_9

Early history Single (music)_section_0

The origins of the single are in the late 19th century, when music was distributed on phonograph cylinders that held two to four minutes' worth of audio. Single (music)_sentence_10

These were then superseded by disc phonograph records, which initially also had a short duration of playing time per side. Single (music)_sentence_11

In the first two to three decades of the 20th century, almost all commercial music releases were, in effect, singles (the exceptions were usually for classical music pieces, where multiple physical storage media items were bundled together and sold as an album). Single (music)_sentence_12

Phonograph records were manufactured with a range of playback speeds (from 16 to 78 rpm) and in several sizes (including 12 inches or 30 centimetres). Single (music)_sentence_13

By about 1910, however, the 10-inch (25 cm), 78-rpm shellac disc had become the most commonly used format. Single (music)_sentence_14

The inherent technical limitations of the gramophone disc defined the standard format for commercial recordings in the early 20th century. Single (music)_sentence_15

The relatively crude disc-cutting techniques of the time and the thickness of the needles used on record players limited the number of grooves per inch that could be inscribed on the disc surface, and a high rotation speed was necessary to achieve acceptable recording and playback fidelity. Single (music)_sentence_16

78 rpm was chosen as the standard because of the introduction of the electrically powered synchronous turntable motor in 1925, which ran at 3,600 rpm with a 46:1 gear ratio, resulting in a rotation speed of 78.26 rpm. Single (music)_sentence_17

With these factors applied to the 10-inch format, songwriters and performers increasingly tailored their output to fit the new medium. Single (music)_sentence_18

The three-minute single remained the standard into the 1960s, when the availability of microgroove recording and improved mastering techniques enabled recording artists to increase the duration of their recorded songs. Single (music)_sentence_19

The breakthrough came with Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone": Although Columbia Records tried to make the record more "radio-friendly" by cutting the performance into halves and separating them between the two sides of the vinyl disc, both Dylan and his fans demanded that the full six-minute take be placed on one side, and that radio stations play the song in its entirety. Single (music)_sentence_20

Types of physical singles Single (music)_section_1

Singles have been issued in various formats, including 7-inch (18 cm), 10-inch, and 12-inch discs, usually playing at 45 rpm; 10-inch shellac discs, playing at 78 rpm; 7-inch plastic flexi discs; cassettes; and 8 or 12 cm (3.1 or 4.7 in) CD singles. Single (music)_sentence_21

Other, less common, formats include singles on Digital Compact Cassette, DVD, and Laserdisc, as well as many non-standard sizes of vinyl disc (5 in or 13 cm, 8 in or 20 cm, etc.). Single (music)_sentence_22

7-inch format Single (music)_section_2

The most common form of the vinyl single is the "45" or "7-inch". Single (music)_sentence_23

The names are derived from its play speed, 45 rpm, and the standard diameter, 7 inches. Single (music)_sentence_24

The 7-inch 45 rpm record was released 31 March 1949 by RCA Victor as a smaller, more durable and higher-fidelity replacement for the 78 rpm shellac discs. Single (music)_sentence_25

The first 45 rpm records were monaural, with recordings on both sides of the disc. Single (music)_sentence_26

As stereo recordings became popular in the 1960s, almost all 45 rpm records were produced in stereo by the early 1970s. Single (music)_sentence_27

Columbia Records, which had released the ​33 ⁄3 rpm 12-inch vinyl LP in June 1948, also released ​33 ⁄3 rpm 7-inch vinyl singles in March 1949, but they were soon eclipsed by the RCA Victor 45. Single (music)_sentence_28

The first regular production 45 rpm record pressed was "PeeWee the Piccolo" RCA Victor 47-0146 pressed 7 December 1948 at the Sherman Avenue plant in Indianapolis, R.O. Single (music)_sentence_29

Price, plant manager. Single (music)_sentence_30

The claim made that 48-0001 by Eddy Arnold was the first 45 is evidently incorrect (even though as of this writing 48-0000 has not turned up) since all 45s were released simultaneously with the 45 player on the 29 March date. Single (music)_sentence_31

There was plenty of information 'leaked' to the public about the new 45 rpm system through front-page articles in Billboard magazine on 4 December 1948 and again on 8 January 1949. Single (music)_sentence_32

RCA was trying to blunt the lead Columbia had established in releasing their ​33 ⁄3  LP system back in June 1948. Single (music)_sentence_33

To compete with Columbia, RCA released albums as boxes of 45 rpm 7-inch singles that could be played continuously like a LP on their record changer. Single (music)_sentence_34

In the early era RCA were also releasing 7-inch singles pressed in different colours for different genres, making it easy for customers to find their preferred music. Single (music)_sentence_35

The novelty of multicoloured singles however only lasted a few years, by 1952 all of RCA's singles were pressed in black vinyl. Single (music)_sentence_36

The lightweight and inexpensive 45 rpm discs introduced by RCA were quickly popular and in the early 1950s all major US labels had begun manufacturing 7-inch singles. Single (music)_sentence_37

In some regions (e.g. Single (music)_sentence_38

US), the default hole size fitted the original RCA 1.5 inch hub which, due to a format war, was incompatible with the 0.25 inch spindle of a Columbia-system 33 1/3 RPM 12 inch LP player. Single (music)_sentence_39

In other regions (e.g. UK), the default was a small hole compatible with a multi-speed 0.25 inch spindle player, but with a "knock out" that was removed for usage on a larger hub player. Single (music)_sentence_40

One could play a large-hole record on a player with a 0.25 inch spindle by use of a single puck or by inserting an adapter. Single (music)_sentence_41

12-inch format Single (music)_section_3

Main article: 12-inch single Single (music)_sentence_42

Although 7 inches remained the standard size for vinyl singles, 12-inch singles were introduced for use by DJs in discos in the 1970s. Single (music)_sentence_43

The longer playing time of these singles allowed the inclusion of extended dance mixes of tracks. Single (music)_sentence_44

In addition, the larger surface area of the 12-inch discs allowed for wider grooves (larger amplitude) and greater separation between grooves, the latter of which results in less cross-talk. Single (music)_sentence_45

Consequently, they are less susceptible to wear and scratches. Single (music)_sentence_46

The 12-inch single is still considered a standard format for dance music, though its popularity has declined in recent years. Single (music)_sentence_47

Digital era Single (music)_section_4

As digital downloading and audio streaming have become more prevalent, it has become possible for every track on an album to also be available separately. Single (music)_sentence_48

Nevertheless, the concept of a single for an album has been retained as an identification of a more heavily promoted or more popular song (or group of songs) within an album collection. Single (music)_sentence_49

The demand for music downloads skyrocketed after the launch of Apple's iTunes Store (then called iTunes Music Store) in January 2001 and the creation of portable music and digital audio players such as the iPod. Single (music)_sentence_50

In September 1997, with the release of Duran Duran's "Electric Barbarella" for paid downloads, Capitol Records became the first major label to sell a digital single from a well-known artist. Single (music)_sentence_51

Previously, Geffen Records also released Aerosmith's "Head First" digitally for free. Single (music)_sentence_52

In 2004, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) introduced digital single certification due to significant sales of digital formats, with Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" becoming RIAA's first platinum digital single. Single (music)_sentence_53

In 2013, RIAA incorporated on-demand streams into the digital single certification. Single (music)_sentence_54

Single sales in the United Kingdom reached an all-time low in January 2005, as the popularity of the compact disc was overtaken by the then-unofficial medium of the music download. Single (music)_sentence_55

Recognizing this, On 17 April 2005, Official UK Singles Chart added the download format to the existing format of physical CD singles. Single (music)_sentence_56

Gnarls Barkley was the first act to reach No.1 on this chart through downloads alone in April 2006, for their debut single "Crazy", which was released physically the following week. Single (music)_sentence_57

On 1 January 2007 digital downloads (including unbundled album tracks) became eligible from the point of release, without the need for an accompanying physical. Single (music)_sentence_58

Sales gradually improved in the following years, reaching a record high in 2008 that still proceeded to be overtaken in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Single (music)_sentence_59

In the late 2010s, artists began a trend of releasing multiple singles before eventually releasing a studio album. Single (music)_sentence_60

An unnamed A&R representative confirmed to Rolling Stone in 2018 that "an artist has to build a foundation to sustain" and added that "When artists have one big record and go run with that, it doesn’t work because they never had a foundation to begin with." Single (music)_sentence_61

The same article cited examples such as Cardi B, Camila Cabello and Jason Derulo releasing four or more singles prior to their album releases. Single (music)_sentence_62

Culture Single (music)_section_5

The sales of singles are recorded in record charts in most countries in a Top 40 format. Single (music)_sentence_63

These charts are often published in magazines and numerous television shows and radio programs count down the list. Single (music)_sentence_64

In order to be eligible for inclusion in the charts the single must meet the requirements set by the charting company, usually governing the number of songs and the total playing time of the single. Single (music)_sentence_65

In popular music, the commercial and artistic importance of the single (as compared to the EP or album) has varied over time, technological development, and according to the audience of particular artists and genres. Single (music)_sentence_66

Singles have generally been more important to artists who sell to the youngest purchasers of music (younger teenagers and pre-teens), who tend to have more limited financial resources. Single (music)_sentence_67

Starting in the mid-sixties, albums became a greater focus and more important as artists created albums of uniformly high quality and coherent themes, a trend which reached its apex in the development of the concept album. Single (music)_sentence_68

Over the 1990s and early 2000s, the single generally received less and less attention in the United States as albums, which on compact disc had virtually identical production and distribution costs but could be sold at a higher price, became most retailers' primary method of selling music. Single (music)_sentence_69

Singles continued to be produced in the UK and Australia, surviving the transition from compact disc to digital download. Single (music)_sentence_70

The discontinuation of the single has been cited as a major marketing mistake by the record companies considering it eliminated an inexpensive recording format for young fans to use to become accustomed to purchasing music. Single (music)_sentence_71

In its place was the predominance of the album which alienated customers by the expense of purchasing an expensive format for only one or two songs of interest. Single (music)_sentence_72

This in turn encouraged interest in software on the internet like Napster for single recordings initially which began to seriously undercut the music recording market. Single (music)_sentence_73

Dance music, however, has followed a different commercial pattern, and the single, especially the 12-inch vinyl single, remains a major method by which dance music is distributed. Single (music)_sentence_74

A curious development has been the popularity of mobile phone ringtones based on pop singles (on some modern phones, the actual single can be used as a ringtone). Single (music)_sentence_75

In September 2007, Sony BMG announced they would introduce a new type of CD single, called "ringles", for the 2007 holiday season. Single (music)_sentence_76

The format included three songs by an artist, plus a ringtone accessible from the user's computer. Single (music)_sentence_77

Sony announced plans to release 50 ringles in October and November, while Universal Music Group expected to release somewhere between 10 and 20 titles. Single (music)_sentence_78

In a reversal of this trend, a single has been released based on a ringtone itself. Single (music)_sentence_79

The Crazy Frog ringtone, which was a cult hit in Europe in 2004, was released as a mashup with "Axel F" in June 2005 amid a massive publicity campaign and subsequently hit No. Single (music)_sentence_80

1 on the UK charts. Single (music)_sentence_81

The term single is sometimes regarded as a misnomer, since one record usually contains two songs: the A-side and B-side. Single (music)_sentence_82

In 1982, CBS marketed one-sided singles at a lower price than two-sided singles. Single (music)_sentence_83

In South Korea Single (music)_section_6

In South Korean music, the terminology for "albums" and "singles" is unique and includes an additional term, the "single album" (Korean: 싱글 음반; RR: singgeul eumban), a category of releases that is not found outside of South Korea. Single (music)_sentence_84

In English, the word "album" in ordinary usage refers to an LP-length music release with multiple tracks. Single (music)_sentence_85

By contrast, the Korean word for "album" (Korean: 음반; RR: eumban) denotes a musical recording of any length released on physical media; it is closer in meaning to the English words "record" or "release". Single (music)_sentence_86

Although the terms "single albums" and "singles" are similar and sometimes may even overlap in meaning, depending on context, they are considered two distinct release types in South Korea. Single (music)_sentence_87

A "single album" refers to a physical release (like CD, LP, or some other media) collecting one or more singles, while a "single" is only a song itself, typically as a downloaded file or streamable song. Single (music)_sentence_88

The Gaon Album Chart tracks sales of all "offline" albums released as physical media, meaning that single albums compete alongside full-length studio albums (and all other albums). Single (music)_sentence_89

The Gaon Digital Chart, which tracks downloads and streams, is regarded as the official "singles" chart. Single (music)_sentence_90

As a distinct release type, the single album developed during the CD era in the 1990s. Single (music)_sentence_91

Single albums, typically including about two or three songs, were marketed as a more affordable alternative to a full-length CD album. Single (music)_sentence_92

The term "single album" is sometimes used to refer to a release that would simply be called a "single" in western contexts, such as a 7-inch 45 rpm record released before the advent of downloadable music. Single (music)_sentence_93

To give an example of the differences between full-length albums, single albums, and singles: the K-pop boy band Big Bang has a full-length studio album, titled MADE, which was originally released as a series of four single albums: M, A, D, and E. Single (music)_sentence_94

Two singles were included on each of these single albums; the first in the series, M, contains the singles "Loser" and "Bae Bae". Single (music)_sentence_95

A single album is distinct from a single even if it only includes one song. Single (music)_sentence_96

The single "Gotta Go" by Chungha was released on a single album titled XII, which was a one-track CD. Single (music)_sentence_97

Even though "Gotta Go" was the only song on XII, the two releases carry different titles and charted separately: XII reached No. Single (music)_sentence_98

4 on the Gaon Album Chart, while "Gotta Go" reached No. Single (music)_sentence_99

2 on the Gaon Digital Chart. Single (music)_sentence_100

See also Single (music)_section_7

Single (music)_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single (music).