Lauded out musician Frank Ocean not only shook up the music industry by finally releasing his long-awaited sophomore album, Blonde, but he also made a deft business move that will net him millions.
Ocean was contracturally obligated to another album from his deal with Universal Music Group. He fulfilled his end by releasing the visual -- and free -- album, Endless, on Friday. The next day, Ocean released Blonde via his own independent label, Boys Don't Cry, as an Apple Music exclusive. With Blonde on track to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 next week with nearly 250,000 album units sold, Ocean's label and the artist himself are anticipating a windfall.
Had Blonde been released through UMG, the record label would have kept a majority of the profits, and Ocean would have only taken a 14 percent share, according to Billboard. Now Ocean will reap about 70 percent of the profits of Blonde.
Universal fronted Ocean approximately $2 million to make Blonde, which the singer has already paid back. Still, some industry experts believe UMG may try to sue Ocean for releasing the album through his own label and denying it profits. While UMG representatives say they're not currently pursuing legal action, some speculate the label may take advantage of a possible clause that precludes Ocean from releasing music through another label so soon after putting out a UMG release (in this case, 24 hours).
Regardless, many industry experts see Ocean's move as brilliant, especially considering how record labels often pocket much of the profits from the artists who make them their money.
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