I chose EP but my take is a bit more nuanced than that.
It’s really a case by case situation, but some bands do better with shorter releases and others with longer. It’s no secret that KIZU is allergic to full-length releases that aren’t compilations, but I personally feel like they’re exhausting to listen to for long periods of time. The secret to their success is that they cultivate the image they sell very carefully, and they do so in bite-sized chunks. I also believe Dir en grey would do better to transition to mini-albums; while their full-length albums are solid, they are haphazardly arranged and could often use an adjustment. I also think the GazettE should explore releasing mini-albums again because MASS did not need to be a full-length.
I don’t have a problem with a band that releases mostly singles, but I cannot stand the A-TYPE/B-TYPE/C-TYPE single release pattern. Music aren’t Yu-Gi-Oh! cards so I don’t need three copies, and the smallest differences between them could have been packaged on one disc and sold as mini-album. That would be more consumer and eco-friendly, but the razor thin profit margins of visual kei speak louder. Bands wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work, but I feel confident in saying we’re slowly moving away from the obnoxious multi-type campaigns. At most I’ll settle for a regular and limited edition, but you better make those differences substantial and noticeable.
There’s a holdover expectation from yesteryear that a band needs to release an album to establish themselves. I think this is a byproduct of how music used to be consumed and how that was the most efficient way to market yourself then. Streaming changed the game and that’s not true anymore. Plenty of Western artists don’t even release physical singles CDs anymore, just throw some songs up early and call it a “single”, and for me that loses a lot of the significance of what the format is capable of. Slice up enough of the album into these e-singles before release and that takes away from the impact of the album. A lot of international artists, especially in pop and hip hop, subsist on features and don’t release albums of their own very often. Get a hook on a song that goes viral and you can eat off that for a bit.
If you want an example, look at what “Old Town Road” did for Lil Nas X. Went from a viral hit in 2018 to releasing his first full album MONTERO in 2021, and “Old Town Road” ain’t even on it! And if you look up the single itself, you’ll see 16 versions and not a single one was a mass produced CD. Most are digital files. You’d have a better luck finding the vinyl pressing to be honest. And arguably, Lil Nas X got to make MONTERO because he established himself with the single not the album, and that’s entirely backwards from how I conceived the music release process when I first walked into visual kei. That’s wild.
Even KIZU showed that the effects have reached the rather insular Japanese market as they’ve been riding the single wave for a real long time and it’s been working! Such a thing would have been inconceivable just five years ago, but I think the band came to the conclusion that long releases and crunch composing and recording music just doesn’t work for them. And that’s great! I just think that EPs provide them the ability to craft their image the same way their single spree does, and it takes less packaging, and is consumer-friendly, but the trade-off is that they get less exposure. But I think the spectre of exposure and always having to churn out new music to stay relevant is a completely different holdover expectation that doesn’t jive with the ability to stream whatever you want 4000 times if you choose, as people can entertain themselves if given the musical resources to do so.
Overall I would like to see a reduction (but not elimination) of some forms of singles, more use of mini-albums, and releasing albums when it makes sense for the band to do so.