On Monday, multi-platinum R&B artist R. Kelly He was convicted on all nine counts, including extortion and eight violations of the Anti-Sex Trafficking Act known as the Mann Act.
The conviction comes after years of sexual assault charges dating back to the early 1990s. The 2019 life documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” has intensified, along with the rise of the #MeToo movement, calls for justice against the 54-year-old singer.
In addition, the #MuteRKelly The campaign, first launched in 2017, called for the artist’s songs to be removed from radio and music apps. The campaign subsequently led to the cancellation of several concert tours.
However, the looming question is whether or not major music platforms will permanently remove Kelly’s tracks. The data suggests that recent headlines have done little to thwart its broad streaming popularity, especially among younger listeners.
In May 2018, Spotify (spot) removed the artist from curated playlists, but left his music available on the platform. At the time, Spotify said it wanted its “editorial decisions – what we choose to program – to reflect our values”.
However, according to a recent report by music analytics platform metricR. Kelly still appears in a large number of Spotify editorial playlists (around 300) with a surge in additions happening around August 2020.
Overall, Charmetric said, “Any kind of interest will always justify an uptick in short-term metrics across different platforms. And in the long run, if consumption is really affected by these unsavory news events, we’ll see a drop in activity over time.”
“Instead, the old industry adage ‘any publicity is good publicity’ appears to hold,” the company added.
His tracks have also remained on the US iTunes R&B/Soul chart since 2018. The song “I Believe I Can Fly” reached number six in January 2019, following the release of “Surviving R. Kelly”.
Since his conviction on September 27, R. Kelly’s editorial playlists have remained relatively stagnant. However, the event seems to have reminded some Spotify users to add R. Kelly to their personal playlists.
According to the data, 300 to 400 user lists featuring the singer appeared between September 27 and September 29.
Meanwhile, Kelly’s Spotify Popularity Index – a normal metric the platform uses to organize playlists – has fallen from 77 to 69 (out of 100) since March 2018. However, that level of popularity has remained roughly flat since that time period.
For context, Kelly maintains a similar level of Spotify popularity with other popular artists, including Will Smith (72), Zendaya (73), and Fifth Harmony (75).
However, after August 2021, the number of R. Kelly’s unique monthly listeners slowly decreased by a few thousand per day, going from 5.2 million to currently 4.8 million.
RKelly’s TikTok boom
The presence of the artist on social networking sites – including Instagram (FB), TikTok and YouTube (The Google) — seems to grow over time, Chartmitrick pointed out, with young girls making up a large part of his audience.
And in the wake of Kelly’s sexual offense accusations in July 2019, his YouTube channel views and subscriber levels soared. The singer also saw a huge rise in Instagram followers in January 2019 after the release of “Surviving R. Kelly”.
But TikTok may be the platform where the singer appears most.
Some of TikTok’s biggest influencers, including Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae, have continued to highlight Kelly’s music in their videos.
“I Believe I Can Fly”, “I’m a Flirt” and “Ignition” are his most popular songs on TikTok – with views of TikTok videos using his tracks surpassing those of Frank Ocean and getting close to J. Cole.
Kelly, who is now facing a life sentence, is set to face the sentencing on May 4.
Alexandra is a producer and entertainment reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter aliecanal8193