No Apple Music Exclusive = No Piracy for Britney Spears’ ‘Glory’…

Nearly two weeks after release, Frank Ocean’s ‘Blond’ — an Apple Music exclusive — remains one of the most illegally downloaded albums on the web.  Britney Spears’ ‘Glory,’ available across all streaming services, is hardly registering on piracy channels.  Any questions?

After a last-minute shift away from an Apple Music exclusive, Britney Spears’ ‘Glory’ is enjoying a relatively tame piracy situation.  Spears, who originally rallied her fanbase to grab her album on Apple Music ahead of release, quickly shifted tactics following a disastrous, piracy-filled headache for Frank Ocean and his label, Universal Music Group.

Apple Music looked ready for another juicy exclusive to drive up subscriptions.  Spears shot an expensive Apple ad with Kevin Bacon, one that played music from ‘Glory’ and showed the superstar accessing her latest release on — you guessed it — Apple Music.  That was part of a huge marketing ramp-up fueled by Apple, though a last-minute cancelation of exclusives by Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge, coupled with allegations of Spotify sabotage against Apple Music exclusives, appeared to spook the superstar into handing back her check.

But this just in!  Turns out that exclusives are also fantastic for fueling piracy, which of course produces zero revenue (not to mention user data) for the artist and label.  Both of Frank Ocean’s albums, Blond and Endless, were quickly littered across the web for free, including Google Drive, Dropbox, YouTube, and SoundCloud, among other unauthorized places.  It’s unclear whether Apple Music ultimately moved the needle on its subscription total.

By stark contrast, the egalitarian streaming approach by Spears has softened the demand of illicit downloads by a massive percentage.  Taking a look at the Pirate Bay’s top 100 music titles, a proxy of overall torrent traffic on the web, a ‘Frank Ocean Blonde 2016 320’ easy leads the entire ranking with 2,021 seeds.  Remarkably, that number one ranking comes nearly 10 days after release.

‘Glory,’ by stark comparison, isn’t even in the ranking, with the lead single, “Make Me,” ranked number 87 with roughy 1/10th the number of seeds.  Tellingly, ‘Glory’ is wedged between Korn’s complete discography torrent and A Day to Remember’s latest release, ‘Bad Vibrations’.

Also in the top 10 torrents for this week?  The complete downloads of Kanye West’s ‘The Life of Pablo,’ a Tidal exclusive, and Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade,’ a Tidal exclusive still not available on Spotify.





6 Responses

  1. Versus

    ” Frank Ocean’s ‘Blond’ — an Apple Music exclusive — remains one of the most illegally downloaded albums on the web”

    So what’s being done to penalize the pirates and fine them for the losses?

  2. Anonymous

    “exclusives are also fantastic for fueling piracy, which of course produces zero revenue

    Like streaming.

  3. Anonymous

    “Britney Spears’ ‘Glory,’ available across all streaming services, is hardly registering on piracy channels. Any questions?”

    Not really, she’s just not that popular anymore.

  4. Mysteries

    It’s great to know that people are going to torrent sites for exclusives. Superstars who don’t want their music available everywhere deserve it.

  5. FarePlay

    Pathetic that we’ve allowed broken legislation that makes it nearly impossible to prosecute known pirate websites since 1998 to remain on the books. It has cost us dearly in lost wages, lost taxes and blurred the lines of integrity for an entire generation.

    It has also deprived the public of incredible creativity, just how much we’ll never know. Look at the films being financed and what we’ve lost there. If it’s not shot for iMax with 100m budget for effects and chase scenes, it doesn’t get made.

    People in the industry talk about the value gap problem, as this post celebrates the victory in giving it away, legally. So. Yes, we have a seriously broken industry, hobbled by broken laws choosing to make Unfavorable deals out of desperation.

    It’s black mail on an epic scale

    • Versus

      Absolutely agreed. This has been a disaster the middle (and lower) classes of musicians, which, contrary to popular belief that musicians all spend their time in McMansions and limousines, comprise the vast majority of working musicians. Most musicians have always been living in financial tight situations, often paycheck to sporadic paycheck. The utopian Internet age has made matters much worse, through unconscionable piracy as well as devaluation by the tech industry, including streaming.

      The idea of “artist development” is one of the casualties. Unless you are independently wealthy and music is just your hobby. That’s what it is being reduced to: a hobby for the rich, instead of a worthy career for the talented and artistic.