The recent guilty verdict for R. Kelly hasn’t affected his commercial success at all, with his album sales rising an incredible 517% in the week following his conviction.
The disgraced R&B singer was found guilty of kidnapping, sexual exploitation of a child, and racketeering last month. He’s set to be sentenced on May 4th, 2022 and faces 10 years to life in prison.
Despite of this conviction, Rolling Stone has reported that his album sales jumped by 517% after his verdict. Between September 27th (the date of his verdict) and October 3rd, R. Kelly’s on-demand audio streams rose by 22%, while his video streams increased to 23% compared to the previous week. His streams also went from 11.2 million to 13.4 million.
It mirrors what happened to Morgan Wallen earlier this year: his traditional album sales went up by 49% back in March following his controversial use of a racial slur.
The streaming figures are sure to decrease in the future after YouTube pulled two of R. Kelly’s official channels on Tuesday, October 5th. RKellyTV (3.5 million subscribers) and RKellyVevo (1.6 million subscribers) were removed for violating YouTube’s terms of service. The singer’s catalogue is still accessible on the video platform’s YouTube music though.
“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 at YouTube, explained. “Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms.”
R. Kelly was found guilty of nine federal racketeering and sex trafficking counts after 50 witnesses were called to testify during his Brooklyn trial. The counts included one count of racketeering based on 14 acts that included sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor, as well as eight violations of the sex-trafficking statute, the Mann Act.
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