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A split album (or split) is a music album which includes tracks by two or more separate artists. There have been singles and EPs released in the same nature, which can be referred to as split singles and split EPs respectively. Splits differ from "various artists" compilation albums in that they generally include several tracks of each artist, instead of multiple artists with only one or two tracks.
Splits were initially done on vinyl records, with music from one artist on one side of the record and music from a second artist on the opposite side. As vinyl records have declined in popularity, this format has been done on CDs. Although there are not multiple sides to a CD, the idea is still the same. From the early 1980s through the present, the format has been used widely by independent record labels, and artists in punk rock, hardcore, grindcore, black metal, noise and indie rock circles. Splits usually receive an underground fanbase with even mainstream artists, as the success of split albums is most often not of a mainstream proportion. A recent trend is using the same philosophy for getting live gigs for emerging bands/musicians. A "split gig" is a gig with two bands, one guest and one host.
A split allows more than one artist to split the production costs for a release. The same can also apply to the promotional costs of a single release. Splits also allow bands to expose their music directly to another band's fanbase. Usually, the bands on a split are of a similar musical genre. The bands may also cover a few songs from the other band's collection.
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