RECAP: The Whole Story on the Frank Ocean Apple Music Exclusive, Spotify’s Label Contracts Expire, Closing the Value Gap in Europe
Posted by Glen Sears | August 29, 2016 9:14 am | No Comments
Story of the Week
What the Frank Ocean Apple Music Exclusive Deal Means for UMG, Artists, and Labels
When Frank Ocean’s latest album ‘Blond’ dropped, it did so like a nuclear bomb, sending shockwaves throughout the music industry. In one of the audacious release strategies of recent years, Ocean and his team at 360 fulfilled the final album contractual commitment to Universal Music by ushering his breaking-the-mold visual album ‘Endless’ onto Apple Music.
But no sooner had Universal executives started daydreaming about Grammys then along came what turned out to be the ‘actual’ album ‘Blonde’, self released by Ocean (Universal contractual commitments now of course conveniently fulfilled) and, for now at least, exclusively available on Apple Music. Universal boss Lucian Grainge then reportedly sent a memo to the entire company outlawing exclusive deals with streaming services.
Sean Glass – a former Apple Music employee – wrote: “Contrary to what you read, there’s no scary Apple board room conspiracy where corporate is plotting to take over creativity via artist exclusives. There’s one guy who is behind ALL of these campaigns — and he is light years ahead of everyone else. He works intimately with each artist as a creative peer, and develops an amazing plan, this is no simple land grab. He works closer with the artists than labels do.”
That ‘one guy’ is very likely Larry Jackson – a Jimmy Iovine protege, who is tasked with striking artist relationships that result in exclusive deals for Apple.
Mark Mulligan of MiDiA Reseach claims, “Streaming exclusives (and indeed label services deals) work best when an artist has already established a brand and an audience. Most often that means after an artist has had a record label recording career. Apple cannot be relied upon to build anything more than a handful of artist brands.”
“Labels still account for the vast, vast, vast majority of music listening. Make no mistake, a momentous value chain shift is taking place, with more power and autonomy shifting to the creators, but that is a long journey and ‘Blond’ is but one part of this much bigger shift.”
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Our best wishes for a great week! – MediaNet
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