Frank Ocean, a man some people knew of before 10:41am today who makes music that some people also know and like, infuriated his record company bosses by doing a weird double-release deal that saw two albums appear within days of each other -- and now Universal has banned all streaming exclusives going forwards.
From what we understand of the way the modern music world works, Ocean was contracted to release an album via Universal subsidiary Def Jam. Which he did, in the form of Endless, an ambient visual album that, to put it kindly, might be best described as containing quite a large quantity of bulking agents and filler.
Endless appears to have been a bit of a cynical effort to get himself out of a contract stipulation to release something on Def Jam, as the very next day his proper new album Blond appeared under the wing of Ocean's own label Boys Don’t Cry. The end result being that Universal/Def Jam's Endless is available to stream on Apple Music, where it serves as little more than a posh advert for Blond, which is being sold in more traditional cash-up-front formats with said cash going to Ocean.
The story ends with Universal music boss Lucian Grainge demanding such exclusive streaming deals with Apple Music and its peers come to an end because of this sort of thing. More good reasons to only listen to Introspective by the Pet Shop Boys today. [Forbes via NME]