Frank Ocean’s Blonde has hit industry headlines this week – for more than its status as the comeback album from one of this generation’s most acclaimed talents.
For one thing, the record was self-released by Ocean after a visual album – Endless – was issued a day earlier, fulfilling his contractual obligations to Universal Music Group.
Amid the hoopla over this release strategy, another defining feature of Blonde has been somewhat underplayed: the fact it’s currently a complete Apple exclusive, and therefore unavailable on services such as Spotify.
That detail provides interest context to the following news.
At midday UK time today (that’s 7am EDT), Frank Ocean’s Blonde had been illegally downloaded 753,849 times.
That’s according to data provided to MBW by leading content protection, data-analytics and ‘piracy audience reconnection’ specialist MUSO.
Blonde was released on August 20, so this huge number of illegal downloads has taken place in less than six days.
According to MUSO, the figure only reflects piracy of the entire album, and does not included data for single track downloads.
It includes data from torrent and cyber-lockers / direct downloads. However, it also doesn’t cover illegal streams of Ocean’s album.
As MUSO revealed earlier this year in its comprehensive global piracy report, illegal streaming is now the most popular form of music piracy worldwide, claiming over 35% of all activity last year – so this is just a sample of illegal consumption of Blonde this week.
The Frank Ocean piracy number is reminiscent in its eye-opening size of torrenting data for Kanye West’s The Life Of Pablo, reported earlier this year.
TLOP, which was released by West as a complete TIDAL exclusive for six weeks, was torrented a whopping 500,000 times in its first 24 hours.
Blonde, released on Ocean’s own Boys Don’t Cry label, is looking like a dead cert to top the Billboard 200 chart tomorrow (August 25).
Billboard predicts that Blonde will also top its albums list forecasting a week-one sales figure of 225,000-250,000.Music Business Worldwide