Frank Ocean's hotly-anticipated album, Blonde, racked up close to a million illegal downloads in the UK alone less than one week after its exclusive release on Apple Music.
The record, which was launched on 20 August, was illegally downloaded more than 750,000 times by Brits in the six days that followed; a figure that shines a spotlight on the pitfalls faced by labels and artists when it comes to exclusive streaming.
According to Music Business Worldwide, Blonde had sold about 250,000 copies on Apple Music for $9.99, less than one third of those obtained on illegal torrent and download sites.
Ocean's deal with Apple came hot on the heels of Beyonce and Kanye West's Tidal-only album releases. West's The Life of Pablo, which was exclusive on Tidal for just six weeks, was torrented a 500,000 times in its first 24 hours alone.
While it's common for top artists to go exclusive, data on Blonde from content protection, data-analytics and ‘piracy audience reconnection’ specialist Muso, proves that it is somewhat of a double-edged sword.
Streaming giants like Apple are willing to stump up large sums for exclusivity, but fans' frustration over lack of access has so far been seen to cause an uptick in illegal downloads.
Earlier this week, Apple rival Spotify was accused of punishing artists who ink exclusivity deals with competitors by making it harder for users to find their music in its library. It has since denied the “unequivocally false” allegations.