Frank Ocean “Presents” Surprise Beats 1 Show That Does Not Feature Frank Ocean

Earlier today, Beats 1 aired a the first episode of a surprise new show called blonded RADIO that was “presented” by Frank Ocean. The second hour of the show was bookended by two segments that were billed as an “interview” between Jay Z and Ocean, but primarily just featured Jay talking about the current state of the music industry.

While this is interesting (?) because Jay appeared on Beats 1 as opposed to his precious TIDAL, the show otherwise featured little to no involvement from Ocean himself, or at least his involvement was extremely anonymous. The music was curated by Vegyn, Roof Access, and Federico Aliprandi, who also served as hosts throughout the show. Selections included a lot of songs from Blonde, a long Prince-only interlude, and tracks from Nina Simone, Michael Jackson, Pixies, Teen Suicide, and a ton more. You can listen to the full show here if you have an Apple Music subscription. (The Jay Z parts come at 1hr3m and 1hr53m in.)

Here’s a transcript of Jay Z’s comments (via Pitchfork):

Take radio for instance. It’s pretty much an advertisement model. You take these pop stations, they’re reaching 18-34 young white females. So they’re playing music based on those tastes. And then they’re taking those numbers and they’re going to advertising agencies and people are paying numbers based on the audience that they have. So these places are not even based on music. Their playlist isn’t based on music. If you think a person like Bob Marley right now probably wouldn’t play on a pop station. Which is crazy. It’s not even about the DJ discovering what music is best. You know, music is music. The line’s just been separated so much that we’re lost at this point in time.

They have to revolutionize that thing, you know, be more progressive. I think with all the technology and where we are today, it’s definitely a more efficient way to get music out. Because it’s the whole idea behind having a festival that played all sorts of music. Because no one listens to music like that – you just listen to music more than ever. Back in the days there used to be hip-hop clubs. Like, specific hip-hop clubs. Now every club is a hip-hop club. Every club is a music club. You go in there, you’re liable to hear EDM, hip-hop, you’re gonna hear some soul, you’re definitely going to hear “Poison” around 2-3 in the morning.

It’s unfortunate because with, you know, technology and everything moving forward, we should, it should be a better way that the music, the musicians, radio, and these things that are supposed to be instruments for the arts, should exist. And it shouldn’t be about advertisement. And it shouldn’t be about—so the more times, you know, someone like yourself can bypass that, it’s better for the, for the arts. And it’s better for the audience ‘cause you have to have, like, a level of discipline and just a belief to put music out in this place where not everyone can. You know, people, like, they wanna shoot for that, and then they’re making music that’s not really conditioned to who they are [Frank says “right”], who they are so they can reach a certain platform.

Ostensibly, this seems to be tied to Ocean’s new song with Calvin Harris and Migos, which played during the show. Both Ocean’s visual album, Endless, and his most recent album, Blonde, were originally Apple Music exclusives, so Ocean has a history with the streaming service.

He also has a history with Beats 1: Back in the summer, before either of his two albums were released, Ocean made Zane Lowe fly out to Tokyo to do an interview for the DJ’s radio show, but the interview never aired. That didn’t air during the show.

It’s unclear when the next episode of blonded RADIO will air, though it’s billed as the first episode so presumably more are on the way.