Frank Ocean’s finesse move is paying off greatly. His independently released Apple Music exclusive album Blonde has hit the top of the Billboard 200 charts and has reportedly made him more than $1 million in one week.
In case you missed it, Frank Ocean released two albums earlier this month. The first, Endless, was a visual album released on Def Jam. The other, Blonde was an album that he released independently on Apple Music since Endless ended his contractual obligation to Def Jam. So far, Blonde has received more of the attention and acclaim.
Ocean has been applauded for the shrewd move and his pockets are even more thankful.
So far, Blonde has generated about $2.12 million in total, according toBillboard‘s estimate. (Note that the following tallies are based on the assumption that Ocean is receiving 70 percent of revenues, since Blonde was self-released — in a major fiscal coup for the artist.) Of that first week cash, Ocean would have made $1.623 million off 232,000 album sales, and about $504,000 on 69.1 million streams.
About $359,000 (17 tracks, 9.1 cents per track, multiplied by album sales) of Blonde‘s revenue would be earmarked for mechanical royalties to songwriters, which Ocean will have to, at least in part, split with other writers and his publisher, BMG. (Ocean doesn’t appear to have delivered songwriting credits to BMI — or the performance rights organization has yet to update its database with that information.)
With publishing revenue wholly subtracted, Ocean would still net about $1.77 million from Blonde… from its first week.
As for Def Jam and the Endless album they got stuck with? Well, the same Billboard article estimates that the album has generated anywhere between $13,000 and $157,000 for the company. According to their logic, it is very possible that Apple Music could be paying Def Jam for the whole album as just one stream since it was released as a one track “visual album.”
If this is true, then we can see why the big wigs at Universal Music are reportedly banning their artists from signing exclusive streaming deals from now on.