R. Kelly sales soar 500 percent after guilty verdicts
R. Kellythe fall from grace accelerated after he was convicted of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child and kidnapping, but its flows and sales have not declined at all.
In fact, within a week of her guilty verdict, Kelly’s music saw double-digit growth in streams and triple-digit growth in sales. From September 27 to October 3, Kelly’s on-demand audio streams increased 22%, while video streams increased 23% from the previous seven days. In total, his streams went from 11.2 million to 13.4 million. His album sales increased by 517%.
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For the past four years, streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify have “cut” R. Kelly’s music by not including his songs in curated playlists. And many artists have decided to withdraw their collaborations with R. Kelly from streaming, such as Chance the Rapper, which deleted “Somewhere in Paradise” in January 2019. This week, “Where You At” by Jennifer Hudson, written and produced by R. Kelly, too seemed to disappear streaming.
But for the most part, Kelly’s music is still available for those who want to stream her, and her streams haven’t gone down at all over the past four years. In 2017, R. Kelly averaged around 5.4 million on-demand audio streams per week, and this year it averaged around 6.4 million.
The only platform to clean up its music has been YouTube, which announced this week that he closed two official R. Kelly YouTube accounts which housed his official music videos (although unofficial clips remain on the platform and his music remains available on YouTube Music). Although video streams increased in the week following the verdict, there will likely be a sharp drop in the coming days.
It is not uncommon for an artist to see a spike in activity right after a controversy. Morgan Wallen, for example, saw sales skyrocket to 1,220 percent after a video of him was released using a racial slur.
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