Digital streams of R. Kelly’s music surged 116 percent after Lifetime debuted a documentary series that portrayed the singer as a serial abuser, Billboard reported Thursday.
Songs by R. Kelly generated 4.3 million on-demand audio and video streams in the U.S. on Jan. 5, the third and final day of the cable network’s six-part series, “Surviving R. Kelly,” up from 1.9 million on Jan. 2, according to Nielsen Music statistics cited by Billboard.
Mr. Kelly’s songs were streamed a combined total of 14.5 million times between Jan. 3-6, compared to 8.8 million between the three days ending Jan. 2, the music industry publication reported.
“Ignition (Remix),” one of the singer’s most popular songs, was streamed in the U.S. about 433,000 times during the last day of the docu-series, up 80 percent from three days earlier, the music publication reported, making it his most popular tune recently on platforms monitored by Nielsen.
Digital streams of “Trapped in the Closet,” his 33-part opera, surged 230 percent during the same span, Billboard reported.
Born as Robert Sylvester Kelly in 1967, allegations against the singer spanning several decades recently culminated in multiple women publicly accusing him in the Lifetime series of sexually and physically abusive behavior.
Prosecutors in Chicago and Atlanta reached out to Mr. Kelly’s potential victims after the series aired, and several radio stations have since removed his songs from their playlists.
“If we are going to take these allegations seriously — it isn’t one of those situations where it’s just forensics, we need actual witnesses and victims to have the courage to tell their stories,” Kim Foxx, an Illinois state attorney for Cook County, said Tuesday. “We cannot do anything related to these allegations without the cooperation of victims and witnesses.”
Mr. Kelly was found not guilty in Cook County in 2008 on 14 counts of child pornography. He has previously denied allegations of sexual misconduct.
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