R. Kelly's Music Sales Skyrocketed After His Sex Trafficking Conviction
Kelly is averaging more than 6 million streams per week.
October 10, 2021 at 8:39 pm
R. Kelly was recently found guilty of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child and kidnapping, but you wouldn't know it from the looks of his music sales.
Kelly's on-demand audio streams increased by 22% during the week of his conviction, and his video streams were up 23% compared to the previous seven days, Rolling Stone reports. Overall, the musician's streams increased from 11.2 million to 13.4 million, while his album sales were up 517%.
Despite the efforts of streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify, which have decided to omit Kelly’s hits from curated playlists in recent years, fans have found ways to continue accessing his music. The 54-year-old was averaging around 5.4 million on-demand audio streams per week in 2017 while continuing to face harrowing allegations from survivors of sexual abuse. It's a similar trend this year, with Kelly averaging more than 6 million streams per week.
Artists such as Chance the Rapper and Jennifer Hudson appear to have also pulled the songs they produced with the convicted sexual abuser. YouTube made another statement against the R&B singer this week, shutting down two of his official channels.
Advocates of sexual survivors have been leading the #MuteRKelly campaign, demanding radio and streaming services to stop playing Kelly’s music. While Kelly's music still continues to soar in popularity, music analysts said it's a typical trend that happens after an artist gets caught up in controversy.
According to Rolling Stone, Kelly's popularity is expected to eventually drop, as it often happens with other disgraced musicians who experience a decline after initially enjoying success despite public outrage.
The R&B singer saw another dramatic jump in his business after the release of the documentary Surviving R. Kelly in 2019, Forbes reports. The documentary featured the stories of several women who revealed disturbing allegations against the singer. Still, Kelly's music streams increased by 116% shortly after the documentary was released.