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The first singles were published on vinyl records .

A single [ 1 ] (in English single ), also called simple , cut or diffusion cut , is a phonograph record of short duration with one or two recordings on each side.

The first means of publishing a single was the vinyl record , which came in an 18 cm format (in Saxon measurements: 7 inches ), but with the new technology singles were later released on compact disc and for digital download . Its publication generally serves promotion , distribution and segmentation purposes (for radios , DJs , etc.) and marketing , with various formats such as the promotional single and the maxi single .


The single usually features one or two title songs (called side A and side B). The first contains the song being featured, and the second features an additional song that is commonly a different mix or remix of the title track, another song from the album's repertoire, or some unreleased track not included on the album .



The main theme of the single usually comes from a music album that has already been or will be released imminently, in order to publicize the album or artist and promote sales.

Distribution and segmentation

On many occasions radio versions ("radio edit" or " radio edit " , in English " radio edit ") are published on the A sides for two main reasons: to have a suitable length for the radio (generally shortening the song original), or to censor any vulgarity that the song may contain in its original version.

Marketing and collecting

Generally, the B-sides include unreleased tracks, exclusive remixes and other extras (extra-long versions, versions that include vulgar language, rare versions, versions performed live ...), with the intention of giving the consumer a collector's item or marketing. This feature is common in the simple maxi format .

Types of singles

Simple commercial

The commercial single is the one that is put up for sale to the public, generally with the classic format of two songs: one on side A, which is the song being promoted, and another on side B, which may be another song from the album, or a remix or mix of the original song, or an unreleased song or an instrumental version and another a cappella ; which encourages its commercialization. [ Note 1 ]

Simple promotional

A promotional single, usually, is an album that brings a unique song, though rarely includes two songs, and even a song and a breakthrough (in English snippet ).

They are published mainly to be distributed on radio stations and record companies , generally they do not have a cover, but the album is included in a plastic or paper sleeve; although exceptionally it is distributed to the public, if it is usually included front and back cover, usually different from those of the commercial single. On other occasions, the public can only get these singles as a gift by buying an album or LP or other products, thus promoting the sale of these, although at present it is not usual.

Single double

Singles generally contain a single commercial A-side located on one side of the disc, but in the double-single format they have two commercial A-sides (each physically located on one side of the disc) because they feature two songs as the lead. [ note 2 ] Both titles are joined graphically by the typography «/» (called bar ) composing the title of the double single, although occasionally the referred title may be different from both, presenting any other denomination. [ Note 3 ] They are usually considered independently of the publication of the singles separately and their publication usually keeps commercial purposes in market segments where the single single at the same price would not get enough sales.

Single maxi

A simple maxi or simply maxi (from the English maxi single ) is a musical format for singles that presents more than two songs.

It is a musical single in twelve- inch format (12 ", it is the same size as an LP ). Generally, a single has 1 or 2 songs at most: a song on side A (the single) and another on side B ( the accompanying song); typical format on a seven-inch (7 ") single. A single maxi usually includes between 3 and 5 songs. This type of record is a prelude to a later LP . It is very common to include unreleased songs on the B side of the maxi single or, if not, also songs that were discarded from the album.

Single album

In South Korean music, the terminology for "albums" and "singles" is unique and includes an additional term, "single album" (in Hangul , 싱글 음반 ; revised Romanization of Korean , singgeul eumban ), a category of releases that does not It is located outside of South Korea. In English, the word "album" in normal use refers to an LP release with multiple songs. In contrast, the Korean word for "album" (in Hangul , 음반 ; revised Romanization of Korean , eumban) denotes a musical recording of any length published on physical media; it has a meaning closer to the English words "recording" or "launching." Although the terms "single albums" and "singles" are similar and may sometimes even overlap in meaning, depending on the context, two different types of releases are considered in South Korea. A "single album" refers to a physical release (such as CD, LP, or other media) that compiles one or more songs, while a "single" is just a song itself, usually for download or streaming . The list Gaon Album Chart tracks sales of all albums offlinereleased as physical media, which means single albums compete alongside studio albums (and all other albums). Gaon Digital Chart , which tracks downloads and streams , is considered the official singles chart.

As a distinct type of release, the single album was developed during the CD era in the 1990s. This type of album, which generally includes two or three songs, was marketed as a more affordable alternative to a full album. [ 2 ] 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 ", 45 RPM record released before the advent of downloadable music.

To give an example of the differences between a studio album, single albums and singles: K-pop group Big Bang has a studio album titled Made , which was originally released as a series of four single albums: M , A , D and E . Two singles were included on each of these albums; the first in the series, M , contains the songs "Loser" and "Bae Bae." [ 3 ]

A single album is different from a single, even if it only includes one song. Chungha's "Gotta Go" was released as an album titled XII , which was a single song CD. Although "Gotta Go" was the only song on XII , the two releases have different titles and ranked on the Gaon Chart separately: XII came in fourth on the Gaon Album Chart, [ 4 ] while "Gotta Go" Go »came in at No. 2 on the Gaon Singles Chart. [ 5 ]



The traditional format of singles, usually 7 inches (12 in the maxi singles ). Its sales declined in the 1990s with the appearance of the compact disc, but it was maintained thanks to the use of the vinyl format by DJs and collectors. The vinyl singles market continued in this crisis until 2001, being maintained basically thanks to DJs , when the sudden emergence of single releases came thanks to the rise of electronic music , the fall in the prices of music creation tools and the dissemination of musical culture and collecting.


It constituted the alternative to vinyl in the mid -1980s , being distributed until the appearance of the compact disc that replaced it practically in its entirety.

Compact disc

A CD single is a musical single in the form of a standard-size compact disc . The compact disc format for singles was first introduced in the mid-1980s , but was not released until 1990 . CDs soon overshadowed the sales of other formats such as vinyl and cassette, beginning in the 1990s . Companies began to release fewer singles, to the point that Billboard changed its rules to allow singles without commercial releases. As a consequence of this new rule, production and sales of singles declined dramatically.

Today they are being replaced in part by digital downloads.


Traditionally on VHS , this format contained the video clip of the single and was distributed either to televised music channels and record companies or to the consumer along with the single's cassette .


The DVD format for singles was introduced in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Although they have been rejected by several registered companies for issuing compact discs, numerous have been released in this format. Regarded as collectibles, they generally contain the video clip for the song on the single, and occasionally extras, how it was made, and photo galleries. This format replaced the video format that traditionally contained video clips.


The simple version and the edited version for radio

The "simple version" is usually a little shorter than the official version of the album and, fundamentally, it is generally published on the single disc of the corresponding song, either on vinyl or on CD .

The "simple version" is not necessarily identical to the "edited radio version" (in English radio edit ), as these, which usually are made to be intended for distribution to promote radial , being shorter than the own simple version and being censored. Also the «simple version» can be an unpublished version in its mastering or interpretation.

See also


  1. An example is " Smells Like Teen Spirit " by the band Nirvana .
  2. An example is the " All Apologies " / " Rape Me " by the band Nirvana , where both songs on the album are considered A sides.
  3. Por ejemplo «Closer to God» de Nine Inch Nails.


  1. Royal Spanish Academy and Association of Academies of the Spanish Language (2014). "Simple . " Dictionary of the Spanish language (23rd edition). Madrid: Espasa. ISBN 978-84-670-4189-7 . Retrieved April 19, 2014 .
  2. ^ Jun, Yes Yeong (7 de diciembre de 1995). «Kang Susie single album release - The only two prices are more expensive» (EN Coreano) . Consultado el 17 de enero de 2019 .
  3. ^ Kim, Mi-hwa (1 de mayo de 2015). «Big Bang, listening to new songs 'Loser' and 'Bebe'... Sad sensibility + calm addictiveness» . Money Today Network (en coreano) . Consultado el 17 de enero de 2019 .
  4. «2019 년 01 주차 Album Chart» . Gaon Music Chart (in Korean) . December 30, 2018 to January 6, 2019 . Retrieved January 10, 2019 .
  5. «2019 년 02 주차 Digital Chart» . Gaon Music Chart (in Korean) . January 6-12, 2019 . Retrieved January 17, 2019 .