Frank Ocean‘s highly anticipated releases visual album Endless (Def Jam/Universal Music Group) and studio album Blonde (Boys Don’t Cry) were not submitted for consideration for the 2017 Grammy Awards, although they were released well within the eligibility cutoff date, September 30, 2016 having come out in August 19th & 20th, 2016, reports Billboard. Mr Christopher Francis Ocean had a hiatus of 4 years between releases, with the last release being the highly acclaimed channel Orange in 2012.
It is not certain whether the Mr Ocean’s labels, management or representatives deliberately withheld submission or they whether an “oversight” had occurred. Billboard reported that a source close to Mr Ocean’s team has stated that they were aware of the deadlines and made a decision to not submit.
Billboard had previously released an article highlighting the grounds in which visual album Endless & studio album Blonde were released, the former on an exclusive streaming at Apple Music, recorded on a 2 million dollar budget at the expense of Def Jam. With the release of Endless, Mr Ocean’s contractual obligation to Def Jam was fulfilled: Prior to release of Endless, Mr Ocean had paid back the sum to Def Jam, in full and regained ownership of the recordings. Upon the release of Blonde on the artist’s label Boys Don’t Cry, within 24 hours after the release of Endless, and with the relative limitation of a visual album with exclusive streaming on Apple Music, Def Jam Recordings and Universal Music Group stood to lose potential profit from Endless and one of their “marquee” artists.
In result of the exclusive stream on Apple:
UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge reacted swiftly by informing the heads of his labels that Universal was done with streaming exclusives on one platform and on a global basis, which has been at the center of the streaming services’ arms race in the last 18 months, though it remains unconfirmed whether or not Grainge’s policy change was a direct result of Ocean’s strategy behind Blond. But regardless, the damage was done. – Dan Rys, Billboard