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.