Sony Music Drops R. Kelly
Sony and R. Kelly have agreed to part ways, sources tell Billboard. The news comes on the heels of the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against the singer.
Reps for Sony and R. Kelly could not be immediately reached. Kelly has also now been removed from the RCA website.
Kelly had been signed to Jive since the beginning of his career in the early 1990s, and when Jive became part of Sony BMG, he became part of the Sony umbrella. He has been under contract at RCA, a Sony subsidiary, since 2012.
After the debut of the Lifetime series, protests against Kelly began to ramp up, with #MuteRKelly protests outside the Sony building in Manhattan on Wednesday, and artists such as Lady Gaga, Chance The Rapper and Phoenix apologizing for collaborating with the singer. (Gaga removed her Kelly collaboration, “Do What U Want,” from streaming services and digital retailers last week.) His music had also reportedly been banned from two Dallas-area radio stations, while some community organizers had begun to call on iHeartRadio and Radio One to ban his music from their playlists.
Kelly’s catalog will remain with RCA/Sony and his music is still available on digital retailers and streaming services.
Allegations against Kelly have been around for well over a decade, and he was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008. But they have resurfaced repeatedly in recent years, with the latest arriving this month. Kelly has repeatedly denied all allegations of misconduct.
Last May, Spotify unveiled a new hateful conduct policy, under which the streaming service removed all of Kelly’s music from their owned and operated playlists. While the move was praised by many, it also drew concern from some in the music industry who were worried it would represent a slippery slope, given Kelly has never been convicted of a crime. (The move also affected the music of the late XXXTentacion.) Spotify ultimately reversed the decision.
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