Frank Ocean’s new album, “Blonde,” was released independently and not through his Def Jam Records label, which Ocean has now effectively left, according to Forbes.
“Blonde” is the second studio album by the enigmatic R&B auteur, and has been getting gushing reviews.
Ocean’s visual album “Endless” reportedly fulfilled the singer’s contract with Def Jam and its parent Universal Music Group (UMG) when he released it on Apple Music on Friday — just a day before he released “Blonde.”
Though it’s unclear whether Ocean’s now-former label was initially aware of his release plan, one can safely assume that UMG is not pleased with losing out on the sales and streaming of “Blonde,” which is expected to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart. (UMG has not yet responded to a request for comment from Business Insider.)
As a result, the copyright insignia for “Blonde,” which is currently streaming exclusively on Apple Music, belongs to Ocean’s new independent label, “Boys Don’t Cry.”
According to Forbes, UMG CEO Lucian Grange sent an email to his fellow company executives on Monday stating that the company would now “end all exclusives with music streaming companies.” Sources confirmed to Forbes that the change in policy was “influenced partly by Ocean’s move to partner with Apple” for the release of “Blonde.”
Ocean has had previous disputes with Def Jam. His relationship with the label was intially precarious when he signed in 2010. While Def Jam stalled in helping Ocean with his debut album, the singer independently released a mixtape, “Nostalgia, Ultra,” out of protest in 2011.
In 2012, following the success of “Nostalgia, Ultra,” Def Jam released Ocean’s debut album, “Channel Orange,” which went on to win a Grammy Award in 2013.
Now it appears that Ocean has cut ties with the label, which appeared in the credits for “Endless” but was notably absent from the list on “Blonde,” his proper second studio album.
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