Frank Ocean pulls off heist of the year with Endless and Blonde

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Frank Ocean Blonde on Apple Music
Frank Ocean pulls a fast one with his Apple Music exclusives, Endless and Blonde.
Screenshot: Cult of Mac

By Brandon Shaw

I know, you’re tired of hearing, “Frank Ocean’s new album is amazing!!!” Me too. I’m interested less in the album itself, and more in what it means for the future of music.

With a pair of Apple Music exclusives, Frank Ocean pulled a fast one on his old record label — and shook up the the entire record industry. It’s the latest indicator that Apple sits at the center of a rapidly evolving music industry, where rules and strategies are changing by the minute. Now everyone from Spotify to Universal Music Group is frantically trying to figure out what to do.

Apple Music exclusives earn artists one-way trip to Spotify hell [Update: Spotify denies]

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apple music app
Spotify punishes artists for giving Apple Music exclusives.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Scoring an exclusive album deal with Apple Music can be highly lucrative for artists looking for independence, but it might come with some serious payback from Spotify, which is reportedly punishing musicians that sign such deals.

Musicians have been dragged into the fight between Apple and Spotify, according to new reports saying Apple’s rival is threatening to bury artists in its search results. Meanwhile, Spotify has denied the accusations, which come from anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg and The New York Times.

Frank Ocean debuts Endless visual album on Apple Music

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Frank Ocean Endless
45-minute 'visual album' now available on Apple Music.
Photo: Apple Music

Apple Music added to its impressive string of exclusives by releasing Endless, a 45-minute “visual album” by Frank Ocean.

The film, which is available now to subscribers of Apple’s streaming music service, is thought to be a tease for an upcoming album by the Grammy-winning singer that could be released this weekend.