Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Sony Music Drops R. Kelly, Who Hasn’t Had a Hit in Years: It’s His Music Publisher That Makes Millions from Songs Like “I Believe I Can Fly”


Sony Music has dropped  R. Kelly over his long history of possible sexual misconduct with underage girls.

It’s not a big deal.

R Kelly was a record-selling star in 1998, when “I Believe I Can Fly,” his biggest hit, won 3 Grammy Awards. That was 21 years ago.

Kelly’s last album, “The Buffet,” sold just 140,000 copies after its release in December 2015. Prior to that, “Black Panties,” did a little better– 500,000 copies– in 2013.

But R. Kelly’s days as a chart topper have been over for a while. He hasn’t had a top 10 hit since 2008, with “Number One,” a duet with Keri Hilson. Kelly is a 1990s artist, trapped in a closet of time.

If anything, the organization that should drop him is his publishing company. Universal Music Publishing makes far more money from R. Kelly songs than Sony Music. They administer the profitable publishing rights to “I Believe I Can Fly” and maybe a dozen other Kelly songs that can be covered by other artists, play on radio and Muzak, etc.  Plus BMI, the music agency, collects fees for those broadcasts. If they all drop R. Kelly, then it will make a difference. Right now, the Sony Music drop is just symbolic.

Meantime, R. Kelly hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” are still playing on YouTube. And “I Believe I Can Fly” has sold the equivalent of 9,700 million copies since January 1st based totally on his notoriety.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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