"Blonde" may have violated Ocean's contract with Def Jam and Universal.
Frank Ocean seemingly masterminded an escape from his contract with Def Jam and it's parent company, Universal, when he completed his contractual obligations to the label with the visual album Endless and released Blonde as an independent album less than 24 hours later. According to Billboard, releasing the albums within such a small time-frame may have violated his contract and given Universal grounds to sue Ocean.
Music contracts have clauses that stipulate the manner and time in which albums will be released; one such commonly included clause requires artists to wait a set period of time before they can release new music with another label. Def Jam has invested serious resources in Ocean and no doubt expected serious returns. The label spent a reported $2 million recording Ocean's music. By releasing Blonde independently, Ocean increases his potential profit share from 14 percent to 70 percent. The album is expect to sell 225-250 thousand copies in its first week. You do the math.
According to Billboard's sources, neither Def Jam nor Universal is currently considering taking legal action against Ocean. However, Universal CEO Lucian Grainge instituted a new rule on Monday forbidding any of the company's labels from signing exclusive streaming distribution deals. It's unclear if this decision was a direct response to Ocean's finesse of his contract with Def Jam.