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Britney Spears' album 'Glory' debuts, but not as Apple Music exclusive

Britney Spears debuted her ninth studio effort, "Glory," on Friday as a non-exclusive streaming release despite reports, and a highly suggestive tweet from Spears herself, that it would land only on Apple Music.




Earlier this month, Spears announced a start to "Glory" preorders in a tweet referencing the album's release date and a shoutout to Apple Music, seemingly indicating Apple's streaming service scored yet another exclusive.

"#Glory. My new album & the beginning of a new era. Available 8/26 on @AppleMusic. Pre-order tonight at midnight ET," Spears said on Aug. 3. The pop star did not namecheck other services, nor did her label RCA Records, owned by industry major Sony Music Entertainment.

"Glory" launched on Friday via Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music and other streaming outlets.

Spears' release comes amidst a brewing storm of discontent within the music industry. Last week, Frank Ocean emerged from a four-year hiatus with the release of not one, but two new albums. A visual album called "Endless" went live last Thursday, followed by the 17-track album "Blonde" on Saturday. Both are Apple Music exclusives.

Through a bit of cagey maneuvering, Ocean maximized his take of the hotly anticipated albums by releasing "Blonde" under his own label Boys Don't Cry. The more difficult to monetize visual album, which at the time was thought to be an accompaniment to a forthcoming full release, was issued to fill a contractual obligation to Def Jam and its parent company Universal Music Group.

The move drew the ire of UMG CEO Lucian Grainge, who after hearing word of Ocean's gambit sent an email to his underlings calling for an end to all future exclusives. A pending album from Lady Gaga is said to be the first casualty of Grainge's memo.

Whether Sony is following in the footsteps of UMG is unclear, but Billboard on Thursday received word from Sony that Spears' "Glory" would not, in fact, be an exclusive release. In fact, sources at Spotify said the streaming market leader was partnering with Spears' camp to feature the album across its platform.

Exclusives have become a hot commodity among streaming music providers. Priority access to hit albums draws subscribers, but the benefit for artists and labels is questionable at best. Executives not in favor of the practice contend exclusives segment an artist's fan base and promote piracy. Supporting the latter argument is a report from Music Business World, citing statistics from data analytics specialist MUSO, claiming Ocean's "Blonde" has been pirated more than 750,000 times since its release.

In any case, when Spears took to Twitter to promote the release of "Glory" on Friday, @AppleMusic was nowhere to be found. She did, however, take time to craft posts for Amazon Music, the iTunes Music Store and Spotify, the latter of which currently sits as her top pinned tweet.