Illegal Downloads and Torrenting Surge On Frank Ocean’s Endless Album

Endless Succumbs to the Pirates
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Endless Exclusive = Endless Piracy…

Updated: Frank Ocean has just released another album, Blond, which is causing another surge in piracy.  That includes a completely free version on Google Drive, more on that here

Frank Ocean’s visual album Endless dropped exclusively on Apple Music, with no sign of it becoming available on another music streaming service anytime soon.  Britney Spears will follow suit with her next studio album, Glory.  Beyoncé launched her visual album exclusively on Tidal.  Kanye West did the same with The Life of Pablo.

Apple Music and Tidal are signing up artists to lock down exclusives, with an obvious common opponent.  Back in March, Time even released a list of then-exclusives that weren’t on Spotify, a list that has undoubtedly grown since.  And, this seems to be the new future of the digital music streaming industry, as it appears that this is actually helping to boost subscriptions.

But, the big questions that needs to be asked: what happens when fans don’t have access to said paid streaming service?

Should they shell out the big bucks to sign-up first for a free trial, or are these fans actually finding ways to “obtain” these exclusive albums by other means?  To better examine these questions, we’ll be taking a look at what exactly is going on today in both the questionable downloading and torrenting scenes with Frank Ocean’s Endless.

In Reddit, under the Frank Ocean subreddit, besides finding arguments of whether or not Endless is actually the fabled Boys Don’t Cry album as well as stunned reactions, you’ll find a post linking to a Dropbox account where users have apparently uploaded the album track by track.  When one Dropbox link goes down, another user, ready and willing to upload the album to their own Dropbox, shares a new link.  Posted barely 3 hours ago, the thread currently stands at 45 comments, with one user jokingly declaring, “Doing God’s work son” and another posting in caps, “DOWNLOAD THIS AWESOME ALBUM.”

Taking a look at an unnamed illegal torrenting site, you’ll find this very important information on how many people are actually downloading and uploading the album.  One Endless torrent, uploaded just 40 minutes after releasing on Apple Music, had 875 seeders and 255 seeders after two hours, with the number currently standing at 1,240 seeders and 285 leechers.

The torrent also posts a link to the actual album on Apple Music in order to prove its authenticity.  Another album, promising “480p” quality was posted 4 hours after the original, with just 1 seeder and 271 leechers 2 hours ago, with the number spiking to 201 seeders and 48 leechers as of writing.

Is this just a case of overzealous Frank Ocean fans who just can’t wait to hear and watch Endless or the upcoming Boys Don’t Cry? Not quite.  After Britney Spears had announced on Twitter that her upcoming album, Glory, Reddit users were once again quick to post links to the singles. One Reddit user went as far as creating an entire subreddit linking to an illegal site with an alleged download link for the full album. Going back to the torrenting scene, Spears’s single Make Me, originally posted on July 15, currently has a rather healthy ratio of 123 seeders, with currently just 2 leechers.

So, can these both cases be summed up as just the norm for pirate-savvy users on just about any music album released nowadays? Are diehard Frank Ocean and Britney Spears fans just succumbing to the temptation of the free-price tag of music pirating? Will this be the new reality each time a timed-exclusive comes out, either on Apple Music or Tidal? Only time and record sales figures will tell if this is truly having an impact on actual record sales, or if we here at DMN are just reading too much into these downloading links and torrenting figures.

Pirate image by Kate Haskell, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)

15 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    When you google “frank ocean” endless download, 85% of the top results (and probably about 99% of the rest) are piracy results.

    So nothing has changed:

    Google is still the web’s leading portal to organized copyright crime.

    • Daniel Adrian Sanchez

      You’ve definitely make a good point there about piracy results.

    • MarkH

      The only people searching “frank ocean endless download” are those looking to pirate it, so those results make perfect sense.

    • Remi Swierczek

      Perfect assessment of the situation!
      We have two choices:
      A/ Access Larry Page, the moonshot seeker, and explain to him how music LOCKED IN VIRTUAL WALLS will become the biggest venture of his life.

      B/ Unite industry zombies like labels, BMI, ASCAP, RIAA, IFPI, all politically connected mega stars and ask government for NEW FAIR USE ACT in key developed countries.

      Next day after A or B will happen over 100,000 Radio stations will become music stores. They will play the best they can and we will pay for additions to the personal playlists. $100B in annual music business with just $1M per station in revenues!
      KTU103.5 in NYC would do $100M in first year!

      Music is worth at list $200B a year.
      Negotiations with YouTube, Spotify or AppleMusic are fruitless conversations with music KILLERS shrinking the business to at the best $25B in 2025.
      New game board is long time overdue.

  2. Larry

    Not promoting a service, only pointing out a fact: I can clean the first page of Google Search results for any music artist/band in the world, in around 15 days or so (sometimes in just a few days). I am a skilled professional, surely the big labels can find people like me and get things done? Seriously, it is not expensive at all, probably less than what you would spend for a stupid Facebook campaign.

    • Anonymous

      “I can clean the first page of Google Search results for any music artist/band in the world, in around 15 days or so”

      We all can — but as you say, it takes time.

      And money.

      Could anybody please explain why it’s my responsibility to pay anti-piracy services to stop Google from uploading ads for illegal, stolen versions of my intellectual property?

      Here’s the worst part about Google’s infamous DMCA abuse:

      Those 15 days you mention — the first two weeks after a release — are the most important days in the life of a song or an album.

      This short period is the moment of truth, the culmination of months or years; this is when you earn the money you need to finance your next project, and Google just f***s it up in a split second because it can. 🙁

      • Larry

        You miss the point. If all musicians, no exceptions, no but/if, do proper SEO and don’t hesitate to send a DMCA every single time they see their music being used illegally, then Google is fucked, because Larry and his gang will have to either respect the basic rules of SEO or publicly admit they support piracy.

        • Anonymous

          …and you miss my point, Larry:

          Why do I have to do Google’s work?

          • Larry

            If you don’t do everything you can to protect your rights, then you lose them, one way or another.

            You still don’t understand: if all musicians and bands in the world start doing proper SEO and send DMCA notices for every single violation they find, then Google will face an existential threat. It is not just about the major labels/artists. I am talking about every single musician doing proper SEO, having their own .com website and pushing for it hard every day.

            This is the only way to make Google to either respect musicians or publicly admit that it is a mafia group. Piracy websites exist because of the traffic. Traffic means ads. Ads mean money.

            I am not talking about one musician doing it. I am talking about every single one of them doing it. I am talking about a situation where you search for the name of a musician and you get their .com at the top, then music stores, then interviews, then whatever.

            Why don’t you experiment yourself with a professional like me and see the results with your own eyes?

            Or just spend your days complaining that a mafia boss is stealing the bread of your children. Surprise, that’s what they do.

          • Anonymous

            Larry, we all know what we have to do to limit Google’s damage.

            But you still don’t answer my question:

            Why is my responsibility to remove Google’s ads for criminal sites?

    • Anonymous

      Nothing wrong with the internet, the problem is Google.