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Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ illegally downloaded 750,000 times in opening week

It's a popular album—both on Apple Music and torrents.


Michelle Jaworski


Posted on Aug 26, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 4:13 am CDT

Frank Ocean released albums Endless and Blonde last week, but people aren’t waiting until it’s available elsewhere to legally listen to something that’s been promised for years.

Both Endless and Blonde landed as Apple Music exclusives, so anyone who wants to legally listen to those albums needs an Apple Music subscription (which costs $9.99 per month for an individual account) or they can purchase it on iTunes. But that exclusivity window is leading those who don’t like Apple Music, pay for another streaming music service like Spotify or Tidal, and people who just don’t want to pay for music, to torrent those albums in large numbers.

According to MUSO, a “privacy audience reconnection” data analytics specialist, people illegally downloaded Blonde more than 750,000 times in its first six days. In comparison, Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, a Tidal exclusive, was illegally downloaded more than 500,000 times in its first day—but West didn’t release two comprehensive albums within days of each other.

MUSO’s numbers don’t include the number of downloads for individual songs like “Nikes” or illegal streaming numbers, so the total number of illegal downloads are likely even bigger than what’s being reported.

Despite the piracy of Blonde, it’s projected to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 chart with around 225,000 to 250,000 album units, which includes album sales and stream equivalent numbers for albums and tracks.


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*First Published: Aug 26, 2016, 12:42 pm CDT