There is a reason Frank Ocean released the visual album Endless right before dropping the traditional album Blonde.
Endless fulfilled his contract with Def Jam, making Blonde an independent release.
According to Forbes, Ocean has already made $1 million on Blonde. And that's after subtracting the $500,000 Ocean had to pay back to Def Jam for the production costs of the album.
Forbes estimates that Ocean would have only made $550,000 so far if he had stayed on Def Jam -- and would have probably had to pay some of that money back to the label for his advance and production costs.
But Ocean's independent strategy won't work for everybody. The R&B star had a side-deal with Apple, which gave iTunes and Apple Music an early exclusive on Blonde.
It also put the marketing power of the tech giant behind Ocean.
Still, as Forbes mentioned, other musicians like Tech9 have fattened their wallets by being independent.
We'll see if Ocean is the first falling domino in an exodus from the label system.