R. Kelly's Sexual Assault Controversy Hasn't Impacted His Royalty Earnings

The Frame


Friday, the singer and producer R Kelly was arrested on ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse. He posted bail in his due back in court on March twenty second after several women shared stories of Kelly's sexual physical and mental abuse in the cable series surviving R Kelly his record label RCA said that it was parting ways with a singer yet Kelly is still making money for his music in a recent article enrolling stone music business writer, Amy Wong cited a Nielsen report that shows are Kelly's music streams had nearly doubled in the days following the surviving R Kelly premier when we spoke Wong explained why dropping in order to the modern streaming age is not so simple. So it goes back to this peculiar nature of the way. We listen to music nowadays in the CD era. You supported an artists by buying their physical CD or even itunes you would bite digitally. Now, you stream it which means that they're getting your attention positive or negative. So if for instance, you were someone who hasn't listened to R Kelly in ten years, you saw the news, and you're sort of just curious what is Kelly sound. Like, I forgot what was his big song and you streamed at you're actually unintentionally making money for our Kelly because those royalties are being paid out bias dreaming service like Spotify. And then when the labels splits with an artist, they don't really just get out of business entirely, right? They're still deals. They're still publishing. The artist is still making money through the label or the publishing arm is that right as well. Yeah. That is right. So in the streaming era, it's a little bit tricky to say that you actually dropped an artist because there's no consensus on what that actually means previously. If you drop to artists, it would be the end of their career, they might not ever get any money again because no one will release their music. However, even our Kelly never releases any other music in the future. He's still making money off of what's called the back catalogue. Which is the music is already released from RCA that is now on streaming services, which will continue to be streamed profited off of swollen obvious kind of comparison would be a publisher who says they're not going to publish works from a novelist that novelists has maybe a dozen books at the publisher bookstores call up and say, we need another one hundred copies, and they send them off. So they're not working in the future with an obelisk. But they're still selling books as record label would sell streams or Buzek publishing or even CD's. That's right. Yeah. And the sort of the problem with the idea of dropping someone you can sort of applaud record label or publisher for that matter and shea they're doing the right thing. But ultimately, it's more of a virtue signal than anything because they're saying they won't do something that future while maintaining that prophet string from someone's past. So before any of these new developments happen Spotify. Last year took our Kelly's music and the music of XXX and Tasio from its playlists and received a lot of criticism and backlash and Spotify. Later, retracted, those removals, however music platforms trying to figure out what they can. And should do with artists like R Kelly, and how are they trying to enable listeners to be able to limit access to artists like R Kelly. It's a really tricky and unique situation what Spotify did which was attempt to do something very well intentioned. So they wanted to not support our Kelly, but it came off as, you know, Spotify saying that they want to judge people on their moral character, regardless of everything else. So what they did. Instead recently was they launched a mute feature in beta, which means that a user can go through and click mute on any artists. They don't want to automatically plane playlist doesn't mean that the artist is disappeared. That means that I'm using Spotify. And his name is on a certain playlist. I pick it will just skip that song. His name will still be there, and I can still find him if I really need to. But it'll just skip automatically coming into my ears. So that's one way of sort of getting around it. However, the bigger. Shen is whether streaming services should be taking any sort of stands outside at distribution. Which is what they reportedly do a record store, for instance, in the CD era would never Donelly decide that they don't wanna stop the person and then make a huge judgment at none of the people to buy that CD anymore. So the question is should Spotify. As ticket keeper be doing that sort of thing. So the labels doing that sort of thing or should anybody at all be putting a moral spin on what people listen to. I'm not sure there's anything morally wrong with a private business saying, we're not going to stock are Kelly's music in record stores are streaming services and by that extension. I wonder if the record label was really willing to wash the towns of art Kelly could they suspend every part of their business with him or their contracts in place that they would run afoul of in an artist contract. Typically, there are a number of albums, especially for big artists that are planned for the future. For instance, our contract may have said, you know, we still expect three. Albums in the future. And in that case labor would have had to pay a certain amount of money. Traditionally to artists to sort of let them go from the contracts that may have happened. We don't really know the terms of the deal, but what's clear is that money has changed hands. Somehow if artists let out of a contract or like, go from one. So you're right. It is mainly at the end of the day. It's a financial issue for the labels for the publishers and for services like Spotify who have to weigh that with the idea of corporate responsibility. Which is another issue that has been sort of bubbling up in the last year or so. Wanted to could he do it himself. Could he start somehow his own streaming service? Release his own music independently assuming that he's not convicted and going to jail. He actually if he wanted to release music independently which is the beauty and the curse in many ways of the modern streaming age because it's so easy to put out music and get it distributed through a do, it yourself distributor and just sort of get it onto Spotify or apple music on a medically like that you don't actually need to go through a record label. The question is whether anybody will listen to it or whether you would be able to build up an audience without the resources record late for provides, which includes of course, studio time marketing all those resources that artists typically get as per no record deal. Just why record labels are still important. But of course, if you're someone is big as our Kelly, you might just have the money yourself and be able to do it. So if he does release music that'll be an interesting question for this nurse because they'll have to be making an active decision to go. Listen to our Kelly.

Coming up next