Ocean is set to earn more than double the amount he would have made through a major label.
Frank Ocean has already made $1 million from his latest album Blond, which was released independently on his own label Boys Don’t Cry via Apple Music last month, according to a new report from Forbes.
The report states that Ocean made more profit from releasing the album independently, after he fulfilled his contract with Def Jam and parent company Universal Music Group by putting out visual album Endless just a few days before. Ocean had signed with the major label in 2009 and released debut album Channel Orange three years later in 2012.
Forbes estimates that if Ocean had released Blond on a major label, the album would have notched up around $550,000 (£415,000) since its release, and some of this would have been taken back by the label if they had given Ocean an advance. Artists signed to major labels typically receive about $1.50 and $2.00 (£1.10 and £1.50) for every copy of their album bought on iTunes. Ocean will make between $5 and $7.50 (£3.80 and £5.30) for each copy of the independent album bought on iTunes for $9.99 (£7.50). It has so far shifted 276,000 equivalent album units since being released on August 21.
Because Ocean’s Boys Don’t Cry label would have forked out about $500,000 or so on making the album, he takes home an estimated $1 million (£750,000) in profit after one week. If Ocean had still been signed to Def Jam, he would have made about $550,000, but a proportion of this would have gone back into the advance he would have received from the major.
Ocean’s decision to release Blond on his own via Apple Music reportedly provoked Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge to stop giving streaming platforms like Apple Music and Tidal album exclusives, shifting the rules of the game for future releases.