Frank Ocean is king of the pop world right now. The release of his “visual album” Endless, which reportedly was about ending his contractual obligation to Def Jam, was followed by the self-release of his album Blonde. In additional to all the critical laudations that have been heaped upon Blonde, the album is expected to top the Billboard charts, despite all the illegal downloads. However, Ocean won’t be doubling up, because Endless is not eligible for the charts.
This owes to the whole “visual album” aspect of it all. Billboard calls Endless ineligible because it’s not available for sale, it’s an Apple Music exclusive, and because none of the songs are for individual sale. So since you can’t go out and buy the album, and because it has no singles, there will be no Endless on the charts.
Billboard hasn’t quite figured out how to handle visual albums on the charts. This didn’t end up being an issue with Beyonce’s Lemonade, because it had a physical and streaming release in addition to its visual album. In a statement, Billboard declared, “As the concept of the album continues to evolve, Billboard and Nielsen Music, in consultation with the industry, will continue to consider evolving chart policies to accommodate for the consumption of forward-thinking projects like Endless.”
They are going to have to, because Endless isn’t likely to be the last visual album ever released. Ocean probably won’t be too disappointed. If Endless was really about getting out of his Def Jam contract, and with Blonde’s success, he’s doing just fine.