“ATTN Frank: I will post a very unflattering Photoshop of your face EVERY WEEK that my Endless Vinyl hasn’t arrived. You’ve been warned!” – u/FromSiriusCase study:
How to piss off your fans and keep them smiling
On Cyber Monday (Nov 27th, 2017), excited Frank Ocean fans rushed to the Blonde.co website to order the Endless album on vinyl and CD. Endless is a 2016 Frank Ocean ‘visual’ album, which is Frank’s last Def Jam label release before making his own Boys Don’t Cry label and releasing Blonde. While Endless isn’t necessarily a full-fledged studio album and is often overshadowed by Blonde’s success, the album is treasured by many die-hard Ocean fans, as it contains the original, ambient, and avant-garde influences that would later transcend over to Blonde.As a big fan of Frank Ocean’s work, I had to change pants when I heard about the Endless vinyl release. You see, we’ve learned from experience that Frank merch is rare. For instance, Frank’s Blonde vinyl release back in November 2016 was extremely lowkey and on limited release. Now, Blonde vinyl are fetching $200+ on resale outlets. So when Endless vinyl came out, I knew I had to cop quick, and with my bro, ordered 2 Endless vinyl and a poster for around $100; a bargain.Now, fast forward 6 MONTHS; in what was supposed to come in 6-8 weeks, Frank Ocean fans everywhere still haven’t received their Endless vinyl or CD. Instead, Blonde.co only shipped the Endless poster and VHS orders. Think about it, Frank has us receiving f**king obsolete VHS tapes before receiving our vinyl or CDs. While I feel mad about the abysmal lack of communication and order fulfillment, I can’t help but humor at the fact that—somewhere out there, a Gen-Z Frank Ocean fan has a hung poster of Frank Ocean with that s**t-eating grin, while holding a VHS with no VHS player to play with.Evidently, Frank Ocean fans let out their impatience and growing outrage: Music publications wrote about the order delays. Fans harassed Frank Ocean’s mom, Katonya, on social media. And the r/Frank Ocean “Cult”—who virtually saw Frank as a demi-god, even wrote heartfelt posts decrying this terrible ordeal. However, as fans trudged along the days without their Frank Ocean vinyl, r/FrankOcean’s rage slowly displaced into a whirling circlejerk of hilarious memes:“Fuck my vinyl order up fam” – u/xXPsilocybinXx- u/SilverKilla1114You might ask “Why are they so slow at shipping out vinyl and CDs?” It seems like today, buying merch from artists has turned into a privileged waiting game; when you buy a CD or vinyl from your favorite artist, expect to wait 4-6 months to just get a shipping confirmation. Frank Ocean isn’t the only suspect in this, for instance; loyal fans had to wait over 6 months for Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy, SZA’s Ctrl, Childish Gambino’s Awaken, My Love! and many other releases.I understand that there are fewer record pressing plants today, and that perhaps Frank is remastering and re-mixing Endless for physical releases. But it is unacceptable that neither Frank Ocean, nor his merch department, came forward about this situation to fans throughout this 6-month ordeal. While the wait seems unbearable for many, the subsequent activism from Frank Ocean fans–through their blog posts and memes, can prove that wonderful, hilarious things can happen when people rally together in something they believe in.
Alas, to draw wisdom from the almighty Fall Out Boy: “The best of us can find happiness in misery.”
Stay strong, Cult.UPDATE (4/11): The vinyl have finally shipped, and my order is set to come 4/19! Memes are truly magic.-Clem Mooc