R. Kelly Music Popularity Surges After Guilty Verdict In Sex Trafficking Case



In the week after R.Kelly was found guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering, streams and radio plays of the R&B singer’s music noticeably increased, according to data provided to Billboard.

Key Facts

During the week of Sept. 24, R. Kelly — who was found guilty on Sept. 27 — saw a 14% increase in his music streams and a 55% increase in radio plays compared to the previous week, according to information provided by MRC Data. 

Surprising Fact

This audience increase is much less than the jump he experienced after the release of “Surviving R. Kelly” in January of 2019. Though the bombshell documentary interviewed women who say they were abused by the singer, streams of his work increased by 116% the following week, according to Billboard, though radio plays of his music shot down. 


Rolling Stone reported R. Kelly’s post-verdict success is actually much higher, though they did not source where their data is from. On Friday the music outlet reported that from September 27 to October 3, his music streams were up 22%, album sales were up 517% and video streams were up 23% compared to the week before. 

Key Background

R. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was convicted of eight counts of trafficking women across state lines for sex and one count of racketeering for criminal conduct. The day after he was found guilty, YouTube took down two of the “Remix to Ignition” artist’s official channels. Over the past four years, since the allegations against Kelly came to light, streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify have “muted” the artist — meaning his music isn’t included in promoted playlists.

Further Reading

R&B Singer R. Kelly Found Guilty Of Sex Trafficking, Racketeering (Forbes) 

YouTube Takes Down Singer R Kelly’s Official Channels Days After Sex Trafficking Conviction (Forbes)

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