Frank Ocean Releases "Blonde" As Apple Music, iTunes Exclusive And Free At Pop-Up Shops

Frank Ocean BlondeFrank Ocean has debuted his much anticipated album "Blonde" exclusively on Apple Music and iTunes. The unconventional release is the latest in a growing list of major artists who are breaking all the rules of how to release an album and even what an album is. 

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Frank Ocean BlondeTwo days after releasing a "visual album" called "Endless," Frank Ocean on Saturday debuted his much anticipated album "Blonde" streaming exclusively Apple Music and for sale as a download on iTunes.  Apple's exclusive will last for two weeks. Beats1 radio was also streaming the album on Saturday.

In addition to the digital release via Apple, yesterday Ocean opened pop-up shops in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and London handing out free copies of a "Boys Don't Cry" art magazine including a CD of the new album.

The cover of the album is "Blond" on iTunes, but the spelling adds an "e" to become "Blonde" in the iTunes listing and on the magazine and physical CD. No explanation for the two spellings has surfaced.

"Blonde" is 45 minutes and 17 tracks long, joining a growing list of artists including Kayne West and Drake that have released 15-20 track albums, in part to take advantage of a flaw in Billboard chart rules that combine individual song streams to calculate the chart position of and total sales of an album. 

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In Manhattan, the line to get into Mulberry Iconic Magazines was more than a block long just after 7 p.m. "Inside the store, the essence of a standard New York bodega remained - chips, soda, detergent and so on were still for sale," according to the New York Times, "but the shelves had also been stocked with copies of “Boys Don’t Cry” in a sealed reflective wrapping."

 

 

Inside "Blonde"

The album includes an impressive list of contributors according to the liner notes, including Andre 3000, James Blake, Beyoncé, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Kanye West and many more.  

"I had the time of my life making all of this. Thank you all. Especially those of you who never let me forget I had to finish. Which is basically every one of y'all," Ocean wrote on his official Tumblr blog. 

Ocean's release joins a growing list of windowed exclusives for Apple including Drake, Chance the Rapper,Eminem and Pharrell. Last week Britney Spears announced that her new album "Glory" would be released via Apple later this month.