Another Tribune gaffe: Is Kelly really more popular since his arrest?

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"Not even looming porn trial can slow down R. Kelly's career," read the headline on the front page of the Chicago Tribune Monday, the day jury selection started.

In the article itself, rock critic Greg Kot was more qualified: "Sex scandals have ruined or derailed countless pop-star careers, as Michael Jackson, George Michael, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry would attest. But R. Kelly’s career has remained robust."

The facts are, however, that Kelly's album sales have significantly decreased since his indictment in June 2002. Let's look at the numbers.

Before the indictment:

"Born into the '90s" (1992): Certified platinum (1 million copies sold).

"12 Play" (1993): Certified 5 x platinum.

"R. Kelly" (1995): Certified 7 x platinum.

"R." (1998): Certified 8 x platinum.

"TP-2.com" (2000): Certified 4 x platinum.

Concurrent with the indictment:

"The Best of Both Worlds" with Jay-Z (2002): Certified platinum.

After the indictment:

"Chocolate Factory" (2002): Certified 2 x platinum.

"The 'R' in R&B Collection Volume 1 (2002): Certified 3 x platinum.

"Happy People"/"U Saved Me" (2004): Certified 3 x platinum.

"The Best of Both Worlds: Unfinished Business" with Jay-Z (2004): Certified platinum.

"TP3: Reloaded" (2005): Certified platinum.

"Double Up" (2007): Certified platinum.

What do the numbers reveal?

Kelly released five albums that sold a combined 25 million copies before the indictment.

Kelly has released seven albums (one of those a best-of collection) concurrent with or after the indictment, with a combined total of 11 million copies sold.

The argument that Kelly's musical career has been unscathed by the child porn charges—as the Tribune, the New York Times, and several other publications have contended—simply doesn't fly, even if you want to believe it.

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5 Comments

Jim--

You have GOT to be kidding me?! You are a MUSIC INDUSTRY critic/professional and you see NOTHING wrong with your post above? I used to question your views but now I question your employment?

Right around the time R.Kelly was being arrested the music industry was in the middle of one of its more trying times...and it still is. The vast and wide ranging P2P music sharing/downloading clients hit fever pitch in the early 2000s.

The fact that R.Kelly (along with EVERY OTHER artist) sells less records now then in the 90s has a little more to do with the fact that everyone between the ages of 6 and 86 is illegally downloading music than the arrest.

Record companies, artists, industry insiders and producers not only continually look to R.Kelly for a possible collaboration but also for guidance as R.Kelly has continually shown to be at the forefront of the R&B scene decade in and decade out.

If your next article is in reference to R.Kelly wearing more black suits that blue ones because of his arrest may the news Gods help you...

Jim DeRo responds: In your less than civil way, AZ, you raise a valid point here: Kelly's career does indeed span what I have often in print called a time of seismic change in the music industry; comparisons of sales numbers between 2008 and 1998 need to take that into consideration. But there is no formula to account directly for that, as there is with, say, inflation (a 1948 dollar was worth X vs. a 2008 dollar being worth Y). The point of this post is simply this: It is incorrect to say that the indictment has had NO effect on Kelly's musical career and album sales.

you should have said that in the first place,of course the indictment has had an effect on his album sales and so has pirating of music,but it has not affected his musical career he can still sell out a concert....

The numbers given in this post don't take into account the huge decrease in music sales that has affected the entire industry. Just about EVERY artist has lost CD sales due to the economy and the increasing use of both lawful and unlawful digital downloading.

OF COURSE HE IS MORE POPULAR, THE MAN IS A GENIOUS MUSICALLY, HE
JUST NEEDS TO GET PAST THIS SITUATION, AND STAY AWAY FROM YOUNG
GIRLS!

" Jim DeRo responds: In your less than civil way, AZ, you raise a valid point here: Kelly's career does indeed span what I have often in print called a time of seismic change in the music industry; comparisons of sales numbers between 2008 and 1998 need to take that into consideration. But there is no formula to account directly for that, as there is with, say, inflation (a 1948 dollar was worth X vs. a 2008 dollar being worth Y). The point of this post is simply this: It is incorrect to say that the indictment has had NO effect on Kelly's musical career and album sales. "

Jim--

You will have to excuse the tone and frustration of my comment as your continual misrepresentation of the facts and hollowed opinions for the past six years concerning R.Kelly and his case, personal life, music and the man himself has left me with a bitter taste.

You are right, there is no formula YET to account for the dramatic sales decrease in the music industry. On that same token, there is no formula to account for R.Kelly's case and its effect on his album sales??

Here ARE the FACTS (empirical in nature)--

*All of R.Kelly's solo albums have debuted at #1.
*Despite the negative attention that people like yourself spew from your keyboards he has continued to have top radio hits either in the solo arena and collaborative efforts with a wide range of artists every year since the allegations.
*It IS a documented fact that the music industry is bleeding millions if not BILLIONS of dollars on a yearly basis since the turn of the century. So much so that they are prosecuting these file sharers as young as teenagers. Just because there is no FORMULA does not mean that it is not dramatic and significant to the point of eclipsing your view above.

The only actual facts are the figures above. Your OPINION about the case affecting his popularity is merely a twist on perspective. This is a "blog" so you have a right to print such a view, however, I hope that people who are easily swayed read these comments so that the true and factual views are portrayed.

If anything I believe (and now, this is MY opinion) that despite the negative attention for more than 1/2 a decade he has been as prolific and cutting edge as ever. Which is a testament to his HUGE fan base, popularity, talent and resiliency.

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R. Kelly on trial


The story of the allegations against R. Kelly started here in the Sun-Times. Almost six years later, it's now finally reached a trial.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on May 16, 2008 4:34 PM.

Dastardly Tribune already hassling Kelly trial jurors was the previous entry in this blog.

What bloggers are saying about the R. Kelly trial: weekend edition is the next entry in this blog.

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