Despite the fact that Frank Ocean is still listed on Def Jam's roster, it has been reported that Frank is no longer with the label. With the release of his visual album Endless, Ocean has fulfilled his "obligation to Def Jam and Universal," a source close to the situation reportedly told Forbes. This makes his most recent album, Blonde, an independent release.
According to Forbes, Metadata on Apple Music also confirmed with the publication that the copyright on Blonde belongs to Boys Don’t Cry. With Channel Orange, the copyright belonged to Island Def Jam Music Group. Boys Don't Cry is not affiliated with Def Jam or Universal Music Group, Forbes confirms.
His parting ways with Universal seems to have created a ripple effect, as according to Forbes, Frank Ocean's departure has influenced Universal CEO Lucian Grainge to look towards ending exclusives with music streaming companies—a practice that has received criticism from both artists and fans—like Apple and TIDAL.
Frank Ocean signed with Def Jam as a solo artist in 2009, though 2011's Nostalgia, Ultra was released outside of the contract. A year later, Ocean released his first studio album Channel Orange via Def Jam. Blonde is expected to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 later this week. This pending accomplishment seems even more impressive now, now that Frank Ocean is an independent artist.