Apple Music’s so-called ‘exclusive’ of Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ has been sitting on YouTube for days, with 100,000+ plays. But we didn’t tell you that.
After appearing in its entirely on Google Drive over the weekend, Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ (also titled ‘Blond’) is now widely available on YouTube. The 17-track album has been uploaded in its entirely onto YouTube multiple times, and has been available for days on the streaming video platform.
The YouTube leak is part of a disastrous Apple Music exclusive involving a pair of Frank Ocean albums, one that involved dozens of leaks, a potential lawsuit against Frank Ocean, the possible cancellation of all streaming music exclusives by Universal Music Group, and even legal threats from Apple against Digital Music News.
Other than that, things seem to be going great!
Back to the latest leak, a quick glance shows more than 100,000 streams across a few YouTube postings of the album, over a period of 2-3 days. But that is probably just scratching the surface. The leak on YouTube alone suggests that tens of thousands of listeners have accessed the release, all of whom are diligently avoiding a trial subscription on Apple Music.
But why are these uploads still live after several days? Interestingly, uploads of ‘Endless,’ the first of two recent Ocean albums, seem entirely nonexistent on YouTube. But that is probably explained by Ocean’s label, Universal Music Group, whose subsidiary Def Jam Recordings released the ‘Endless’ album and is probably pulling down illegal uploads through YouTube’s Content ID copyright control mechanism.
‘Blonde,’ on the other hand, was self-released by Ocean after fulfilling his contractual obligations to Def Jam/UMG, which means that UMG doesn’t have a legal basis to pull it down from YouTube. That rapid-fire release is just one of several complications being endured by Universal Music, and could form the basis of an upcoming lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Apple threatened legal action against Digital Music News for first pointing out that Ocean’s albums were leaking across Google Drive, Dropbox, SoundCloud, and endless torrent channels. Strangely, those threats arrived while links on Google, Dropbox and SoundCloud were still live, all of which raises the question of whether Apple — who isn’t the copyright owner — was having trouble getting those companies to cooperate with takedown notices.
More as this develops.