‘Blonde’ – stylised on its cover art as ‘Blond’ – was released via an exclusive Apple Music stream last weekend, coming just days after the release of Ocean’s visual album ‘Endless’ and his ‘Nikes’ music video via the same platform.
With the album yet to reach rival streaming services (it is, however, also available via Pandora in North America), Music Business Worldwide cites data provided by data analysts MUSO, which looks at the number of illegal downloads of the album but not the amount of times the album has been illegally streamed online. The figure is also the number of times that the full album has been downloaded, it doesn’t include single tracks.
Despite the high number of illegal downloads, ‘Blonde’ is still expected to top both the UK and US album charts.
Meanwhile, the way Ocean released ‘Blonde’ has meant Universal Music are to stop releasing any more albums as streaming exclusives.
Ocean was signed to Universal subsidiary Def Jam, but released ‘Blonde’ on his own independent label. This was because Ocean’s visual album ‘Endless’ was released the day before ‘Blonde’ on Def Jam, as an exclusive for Apple Music. With ‘Endless’, Ocean fulfilled his contractual obligations to Def Jam.