R. Kelly Almost Muted, Singer Unable To Sell Song Catalog

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1990’s R&B sensation and accused predator is broke.

For more than two decades, R. Kelly, the self-proclaimed “King of R&B,” has faced allegations of sexually abusing minors and is now being held accountable. His high-profile case which began last week has included shocking testimony from the disgraced singer’s alleged victims. With additional cases in New York as well as pending trials in Illinois and Minnesota, Kelly, who once had a net worth of $100 million dollars is now broke.

Earlier this month, R. Kelly’s lawyer Devereaux Cannick revealed that the singer’s funds are “depleted”. It has been reported that Kelly’s catalog generates around $1.7 million a year in the United States which he only receives a small percentage of. As a result, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer is looking to sell his song catalog–the problem is he is unable to find a buyer, even at below market value.

Antonio Perez – Pool via Getty Images

At one point, the negative publicity was increasing Kelly’s album sales, song sales, and audio and video streams. And the New York Times suggested it would be hard to mute R. Kelly. As it stands today, however, the value of his music catalog has declined. Founded in 2017, Kenyette Barnes and Oronike Odeleye, the #MuteRKelly campaign aims to draw attention to the artist’s controversial past and encourage both corporate companies and fans to end all financial support of the artist. In 2018, Spotify removed R. Kelly from its curated playlists and committed to no longer actively promoting his music.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Despite having loyal fans, it is quite clear that Kelly’s career is over. “[The catalog] has been offered to me a number of times by his team, and of course, I’ve said no for the obvious reasons,” says Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis Songs Fund founder and CEO of The Family (Music) Ltd. “There are incredible songs in that catalog,” he adds. “but why would you take that kind of risk?”

Kelly was dropped by his record label, so it wouldn’t be the best business move for someone to buy his music.


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