Apple Music exclusives come under fire from labels and critics

“In the wake of the much-anticipated launch of Frank Ocean’s new album ‘Blonde,’ Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge has sent out an email to UMG executives, saying that the company is prohibiting the practice of exclusive music streaming moving forward,” Mitchel Broussard reports for MacRumors.

“The email officially ends ‘”all future exclusives with Universal artists,’ meaning popular artists like Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd could all be affected by the change since they each belong to labels owned by UM,” Broussard reports. “The news was shared by Bob Lefsetz, a music industry analyst and critic, who penned a letter over the weekend in response to Blonde’s exclusive home on Apple Music for the first two weeks of its release.”

“Lefsetz said that the heavy reliance of streaming services on exclusive content, and how the practice is becoming increasingly normal among consumers, will ultimately hurt the industry in the long run,” Broussard reports. “According to Lefsetz, Apple’s practices not only lock off entire albums to non-subscribers, but grant greater showcase to its exclusive artists — like the Frank Ocean-centered carousel currently in the app — consequently hurting the chances for indie musicians to break out. He calls Ocean ‘complicit’ in Apple’s schemes, and shames ‘everybody else who takes money from Apple and screws fans.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Blah, blah. Exclusives have been a part of the music industry forever. Becuase it’s Apple, Lefsetz suddenly has a problem with it.

If you don’t like missing out on Frank Ocean’s new album, here’s what you do, Bob: Become an Apple Music member.

Only on Apple Music: Exclusivity defines Apple’s music streaming service – August 22, 2016
Exclusive new Frank Ocean video album ‘Endless’ only for Apple Music members – August 19, 2016
Apple buys James Corden’s ‘Carpool Karaoke’ TV series for Apple Music exclusive – July 26, 2016
Chance the Rapper’s Apple Music-only ‘Coloring Book’ is first streaming-exclusive album to chart on Billboard 200 – May 23, 2016
New Drake album to be exclusively available on Apple Music – April 11, 2016
Apple Music’s secret weapon: Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ World Tour film exclusive – December 21, 2015


  1. The way consumers want to consume music is changing. Apple is responding. What consumers are demanding is what’s hurting the music industry, not Apple per se, although they are a part of the seismic shift.

    The company that accepts this reality and learns to adapt will be the biggest player in the future. The companies that try to hold on to old business models will shrink. Grainge’s whining about protecting indie musicians is disingenuous at best. What he’s really worried about is the money UM won’t be making if the music consumption patterns continue to evolve in the direction they are currently moving.

  2. “the practice is becoming increasingly normal among consumers, will ultimately hurt the industry in the long run,”
    In the Long Run, the music industry has been shooting themselves in the face with the same horse manure for so long that they can’t see anything anymore. The train has left the station and the ticket master is still trying to sell tickets.

  3. What a whiner. I’m sure Frank Ocean and his label didn’t give Apple exclusive rights for a couple week for free. Apple surely paid a handsome sum for the opportunity.

    So Grainge is a big talker until the opportunity for another exclusive comes along and Apple waves a wad of cash in his direction. Let’s see if that changes his point of view.

    As for Grainge’s fake tears for indie artists, when have the big labeled ever given a shit about indie artists? Hell, I hear far more music from indies on Apple Music then I ever could in the old days dominated by labels and radio.

    1. My thoughts exactly:

      A much-anticipated launch of a new album by some dude I’ve never heard of. If you want to hear it right away, sign up for a free trial, or wait until it is no longer exclusive.

      I don’t understand why people have to complain just because some other people got something before they did.

  4. The musicians rule. They should automatically keep their copyrights, publishing rights, leasing rights and royalty rights. It’s time to kick the industrialists, the corporate overlords down a rung or two into being SERVICES that support the musicians. Then the musicians can tell execuTards like Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge to STFU and follow THE CREATOR’ WISHES.

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