'Surviving R. Kelly' leads to spike in sales, streams for embattled artist

Julia Thompson

"Surviving R. Kelly," Lifetime's damning documentary on the R&B star, appears to have reignited interest in R. Kelly's music even as many fans and celebrities condemn the artist and call to #MuteRKelly on social media. 

According to numbers released Thursday by Nielsen, album sales, song sales and audio and video streams for the artist all have spiked since the Jan. 3 premiere of the three-night, six-hour docu-series that delved into claims that R. Kelly has operated a "sex cult" and that he has physically and sexually abused scores of women. 

In the three days following the premiere, which also saw the airing of parts two and three of the series, R. Kelly's daily song and album sales more than doubled when compared with daily sales of the previous two weeks, according to data compiled by Nielsen, a data analytics company best known for TV ratings. On-demand audio streams for the same period showed a 76 percent increase, with video streams increasing by 85 percent. 

Women's rights group UltraViolet has announced plans to fly an airplane towing a banner protesting Kelly over Sony Music offices in Culver City, California, on Friday. The banner, "RCA/SONY: DROP SEXUAL PREDATOR R KELLY," calls on RCA Records to drop the singer.

Additionally, Lifetime will air an encore marathon of all six-hours of "Surviving R. Kelly" on Friday starting at 6 EST/PST.

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Meanwhile, prosecutors in Atlanta and Chicago have also expressed renewed interest in allegations made against the 52-year-old singer in the "Surviving R. Kelly" series.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx called a news conference Tuesday in Chicago to say she was "sickened" by the “deeply disturbing” allegations.

She urged anyone with information about alleged sexual abuse by Kelly in Cook County to talk to prosecutors. “Please come forward,” Foxx said. “We cannot seek justice without it.”

After Foxx's press conference, an attorney for Kelly surfaced to say the abuse allegations made in the documentary are false.

In a phone interview with The Associated Press Tuesday evening, Kelly's Chicago attorney, Steve Greenberg, dismissed the allegations as "another round of stories" being used to "fill reality TV time."

TMZThe Blast and CNN are also reporting that the office of Atlanta-Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. has started contacting some of the women interviewed by the documentary. 

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Contributing: Maria Puente, Andrea Mandell and Maeve McDermott 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Surviving R. Kelly' leads to spike in sales, streams for embattled artist