Sales of R&B singer R. Kelly’s music and videos have taken a dip since he was accused in 2002 of filming himself having sex about eight to 10 years ago with a girl believed to be as young as 13 years old. But music executives said the decline is more indi
“It has not had a career wrecking impact on him. He has had several No. 1 albums. It has not derailed him at all,” said Billboard’s Director of Charts/Senior Analyst, Geoff Mayfield. Mayfield said that while some consumers were turned off by the singing superstar amid the child pornography allegations, Kelly continues to have CD sales that other artists would envy.
In fact, recently Kelly’s music has been in high demand. Since the indictment, Kelly has sold more than 12 million CDs and DVDs. Overall, since he released his first CD in 1992, the singing superstar has sold more than 30 millions records. His last release, Double Up, debuted at the No. 1 spot on Billboard and sold 386,000 in a short time after its release. Kelly, 41, is currently on trial after a sixyear delay.
The alleged victim, who would now be 23 years old, said it is not her on the tape that is at the center of the case. Mulling in the music aisle at a Best Buy store on the South Side, a middle-aged fan of Kelly’s said as long as the "music genius" belts out the hits, the money will continue to pour in. "His music is still good, without a doubt.
There is no disputing that. No matter what is going on with him, his songs will always hit the mark and the people will always buy it," said Robert Fields, a 48-year-old Chatham resident who has been a fan since the R&B star sang on Chicago Transit Authority platforms before his rise to fame in the early 1990s.
Kelly’s music creativity is the most important thing to his die-hard fans. Whether he’s personally liked or not, he gives his fans what they want. That’s why they are loyal, Fields added. Still Mayfield acknowledged receiving emails from people complaining about Kelly and major television stations have been hesitant to have the bump-and-grind singer/songwriter/ producer as a guest.
He said that while sales are good for Kelly now, an unfavorable verdict in the multiplecount child pornography trial could change that. At a Target store on the South Side, 19 copies of R. Kelly CDs were on the shelf, not including six copies of his Trapped in the Closet and five copies of his Light It Up Tour Live Concert DVDs.
Amanager at Target said sales of his music are usually steady, unless it’s a new release. At Mac’s Records on the West Side, sales are generally high when he has new music available. "We order between 30 and 90 copies, or as much as we can afford.
It usually takes about six or seven days for it to sell out before I have to order more," said Eddie Mister, manager of Mac’s. Kelly is expected to release his 12th CD this summer, 12 Play: 4th Quarter. A source said the new music, set to be released in July, will not be his last, even if he is convicted. He has scores of unreleased material ready to distribute.
"If he wanted to, he could drop a few albums tomorrow," the source said. R. Kelly CDs 1992: Born Into the ’90s, sold 1 million copies.
Released while member of Public Announcement. 1993: 12 Play, sold at least 5 million copies. 1995: R. Kelly, sold at least 7 million copies. 1998: R., sold 8 million copies. 2000: TP2.com, sold at least 4 million copies.
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