Apple Music Exclusive Launches Facing Harder Scrutiny

Frank Ocean Endless

Apple Music has only been around for a little over a year, but the company behind the music streaming service has already landed a variety of different exclusive launches from some of the most popular artists on the planet.

But it is the latest exclusive launch that has apparently drawn the ire of higher-ups at music labels, and the company is facing harder scrutiny as a result. To start, one of the largest music labels is apparently doing away with exclusive launches on streaming platforms altogether. The CEO of Universal Music Group, which is the label of artists like The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, and many others, has said that the company is prohibiting the practice of exclusive music streaming from this point on.

That means that these artists, and many others, will apparently not have the option to launch their upcoming albums exclusively through music streaming services like Apple Music.

Bob Lefsetz is a music industry analyst and critic, and he’s penned a letter that brings companies like Apple to task for the practice of exclusive launches, which puts new releases like Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” behind a paywall for people to access in the first place. Lefsetz points out that the practice is becoming a standard at this point, and that, if left unchecked, it will hurt the industry as a whole.

“Because there’s a conspiracy between Apple Music and the industry to change the game, to get everybody to pay for a subscription by putting hit content behind a paywall.

Apple should be investigated by the government for antitrust. How do you compete with the world’s richest company that’s got endless cash on hand? You can’t. It’d be like expecting hillbillies to get into Harvard if slots went to the highest bidder.”

Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” album was one of the most anticipated releases of the year, so it being an Apple Music exclusive probably rubbed many people the wrong way. But this is simply one of many, as Britney Spears has an exclusive deal with Apple Music in place, and we’ve seen Drake release his latest album as an Apple Music exclusive, too.

What do you think of Lefsetz’s opinion on the matter?

[via MacRumors; The Lefsetz Letter]