So much for timed exclusives…
Frank Ocean’s much-hyped second album, which was supposed to be an Apple Music exclusive for at least two weeks, is now available to be streamed on Pandora, whether you’re a premium user or happen to have a free account. Sounds like a good deal, right? You don’t have to sign-up for any Apple Music free trial subscription, nor do you have to pay afterwards, and you can listen to the album all you want.
But there’s a catch.
Blonde is on Frank Ocean’s Pandora channel, which means you can’t listen to the album the way you want. Also, since it is on the channel, you’ll have to listen to other artists as well, with CNET’s Joan E. Solsman reportedly only listening to 3 Blonde songs, 2 by “Drake, and the rest were by a potpourri of artists like J. Cole, Chris Brown and The Weeknd,” with the next 10 songs not being off of the ‘Blonde’ album.
There are a few theories circulating on the internet as to why Frank Ocean may have released both Blonde and his visual album Endless at around the same time. According to Complex.com, it may have been to get out of his contract with Def Jam and UMG. This may also explain why UMG has been rather slow to squash out any online links to Ocean’s album, from a host of torrents to Dropbox links, and even the full album on YouTube being made available.
This news, along with several other links to the full copy of Blonde widely made available online over the weekend, reportedly has Universal Music Group fuming. Lucian Grange, labeled by The Guardian as “the most powerful executive in the music industry,” reportedly sent out a company-wide memo to stop the practice of making exclusive distribution deals with streaming services.
Blonde is expected to reach number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. So far, Frank Ocean nor UMG have commented on this news.