R. Kelly Album Sales Soar 500% After Guilty Verdict, Streams Up 22%

R Kelly Sales and streams

Photo Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast / CC by 3.0

R. Kelly’s album sales and streams are up across the board after his guilty verdict.

The R&B singer was found guilty of racketeering, sexual exploitation of a child, and kidnapping. But the conviction hasn’t impacted the sales of his music at all. According to official numbers from Alpha Data, the singer saw his streams grow 22% and his album sales up a whopping 500%.

During that week, his streams jumped from 11.2 million to 13.4 million. Album sales were up 517% – proving all publicity is good publicity. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have ‘muted’ R. Kelly from appearing in editorialized playlists. But the artists’ music remains available for streaming despite the conviction – with the exception of YouTube.

YouTube announced earlier this month that it shut down two official R. Kelly channels. Both official channels with his music videos were shut down, though his music remains available to stream on YouTube Music. Both RKellyTV and RKellyVEVO were removed from the video site.

“We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” a YouTube spokesperson confirmed about the removal. YouTube introduced the new creator responsibility policy in 2018 to punish bad behavior off-platform for its creators.

Creators who ’cause malicious harm to others’ or ‘participate in abuse or violence’ can have their YouTube channels deleted. They can also have their ability to create new channels removed. YouTube’s Head of Legal says R. Kelly’s conviction lands him squarely under the purview of this policy.

“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm,” Nicole Alston, Head of Legal for YouTube, said in a statement. “Ultimately, we are taking this action to protect our users, similar to other platforms.”

Controversy has always been a publicity generator, especially in the music business. Morgan Wallen was carried to the top of the Billboard charts on the back of his controversy earlier this year. Streaming services like Spotify have also taken a step back from trying to ‘moderate’ what music appears on their platform.

After backlash for removing music from R. Kelly and XXXTentacion, Spotify walked back its hateful conduct policy. “We will continue to seek ways to impact the greater good and further the industry we all care so much about. We believe Spotify has an opportunity to help push the broader music community forward through conversation,” Spotify said at the time.