OCEAN BOTTOM

In retrospect, Frank Ocean may be second-guessing his bold move of self-releasing Blonde immediately after fulfilling his Def Jam contract with the visual album Endless.

It turns out that no label would agree to handle the physical version of Blonde that Ocean had planned to release a week after the initial digital release, the reasoning being that doing so would send a bad signal to other artists.

Nor, for the same reason, did any label want rights for distribution to all physical and digital platforms worldwide. In fact, manager Mark Gillespie was turned down by all other labels that he approached.

Marketing, as well as distribution, is a needed component, but to quote one label head, “We are not doing second-week releases.”

The album has now come and gone, and rights owners are using Ocean’s failed DIY experiment as a case study illustrating why artists still need record companies.

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