By releasing his new, long-awaited album Blonde independently, Frank Ocean literally changed the game. But, that move could land him in some serious legal trouble.
In case you missed it, after four years of waiting, Frank Ocean finally satisfied his fans and dropped two separate projects last week. One being a 45-minute visual album called Endless and the full proper album Blonde. After each project dropped, internet sleuths noticed that Endless was released on Island Def Jam, while Blonde was void of any IDJ credit and released independently. As we would all find out, Endless was released to fulfill Ocean’s contract with IDJ, resulting in him being able to drop Blonde on his own as an Apple Music exclusive.
Frank essentially pimped the system by using Def Jam’s marketing and resources to create two albums but only give them one.
And that’s why Universal Music Group, Def Jam’s parent company is pissed. So pissed that company CEO Lucian Grainge reportedly sent out a memo to all executives under the UMG banner notifying them that no artists signed to the company will be allowed to have albums exclusively released with any streaming service, including Apple Music, Tidal and Spotify. That means virtually every other rapper or singer that you listen to right now stands to be affected if the news The Guardian is reporting is true. This also includes artists like Drake and Kanye West who have benefitted and made history with their exclusively streamed albums.
Billboard writes that Ocean could be sued by his now former label for his back-to-back album releases.