After blistering docuseries, R. Kelly’s radio play plummets but streaming soars

Radio play for R. Kelly songs has plummeted since last week’s airing of the Lifetime TV documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, but streaming of his music soared.

The day the series Surviving R. Kelly premiered (Jan. 3), Kelly’s music was played 1.25 million times on the radio, according to Billboard magazine. On Jan. 7, the day after the series ended, Kelly’s songs were played on radio 198,000 times. Some radio stations have removed his music from rotation.

However, streaming was the opposite.  

Kelly’s songs streamed 1.9 million times on Jan. 2, according to Nielsen Music. That jumped to 4.3 million streams on Jan. 5.

Surviving R. Kelly, which Lifetime broadcast on three consecutive days, has revived the long-standing allegations that the R&B singer has been guilty of sexual misconduct with young women and teenage girls over the years. The six-part series features women who said Kelly sexually, mentally and physically abused them. 

Kelly has denied any wrongdoing. 

After watching the series, an Illinois prosecutor issued a plea for potential victims and witnesses to come forward, while Georgia prosecutors have reportedly reached out to a lawyer representing a couple who appear in Surviving R. Kelly. The married couple accuse Kelly of brainwashing their daughter and keeping her from contacting them.

Activists from the #TimesUp and #MuteRKelly movements have seized on the renewed attention to call for fans and music industry partners to cut ties with Kelly and some past collaborators are apologizing for having worked with him.

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