Dang, people are still out here listening to Chocolate Factory? In the year of our Lord 2021?
A LOT of people are, according to Rolling Stone. The magazine reports that the music of disgraced singer R. Kelly has seen drastic growth in both album sales and streams in the weeks after he was convicted of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges in New York.
Here’s the data breakdown, per Rolling Stone:
… Kelly’s music saw double-digit growth in streams and a triple-digit growth in sales. From September 27th through October 3rd, Kelly’s on-demand audio streams were up 22 percent, while video streams were up 23 percent compared to the previous seven days. All told, his streams jumped from 11.2 million to 13.4 million. His album sales were up 517 percent.
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As Rolling Stone points out, it’s not uncommon for an artist’s music to spike in popularity in the heat of controversy (e.g. country musician and noted n-word user Morgan Wallen). In fact, Forbes reports that Kelly’s music experienced an even greater jump after Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly hit the air in 2019. His radio airplay, however, has taken a strong dip since then.
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It’s honestly disheartening to see that even though various people have come out and spoken on the record about the multitude of horrifying things this man has either done to them or to people they know, he’ll still take up space somewhere and somehow. Even though YouTube has scrubbed his official channels from its site, and artists like Lady Gaga and Jennifer Hudson have deleted their collaborations with him, Kelly’s music is still primarily available on most music streaming platforms–including YouTube Music.
So, to anyone that’s still out here complaining ad nauseam about “cancel culture (*cough cough* Dave Chappelle), here’s another example that it doesn’t exist.