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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 of the same variety, which are often called "split singles" and "split EPs" respectively. Split albums differ from "various artists" compilation albums in that they generally include several tracks of each artist, or few artists with one or two tracks each, instead of multiple artists with only one or two tracks each.
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 has been done on CDs. Although there are not multiple sides to a CD, the idea is still the same. Since the early 1980s, 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 even if the artists featured are mainstream, 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 shows for emerging music artists. A "split gig" is a show with two artists, 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 artists to expose their music directly to another artist's fanbase. Usually, the artists on a split are of a similar musical genre. The artists may also cover each other's songs.
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