These days it has become increasingly popular for artists and labels to allow various streaming platforms such as TIDAL and Apple Music exclusive rights to new releases. Now after Frank Ocean’s recent Blonde rollout, Universal Music Group will no longer be allowing streaming exclusives, making them the first major label to ban such drops.
According to Bob Lefsetz, author of an influential music industry newsletter, Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, sent out a company-wide email on Monday, just two days after Ocean’s Blonde release, saying the company would no longer allow the practice of exclusive streaming.
UMG is home to seven of 2015’s 10 best-selling albums and 38.5% of the year’s recorded music sales.
The decision will in turn affect a number of acts under the Universal umbrella, including all five of this year’s album of the year Grammy nominees: Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Chris Stapleton and Alabama Shakes.
Again, the tipping point arrives as Frank Ocean just released his long-awaited album Blonde exclusively through Apple, a move similar to when recent Beyoncé and Rihanna albums launched through TIDAL.
Lefsetz, along with a number of others in the music industry, believes that making exclusive distribution deals is anti-competitive and ultimately harms the consumer and the artist.
Now that Universal has made this notably impactful decision, what other labels will follow suit?
- Source: The Guardian