“Surviving R. Kelly” premiered last night on the Lifetime channel and trended all over social media. Executive produced by Dream Hampton, the docuseries examines more than two decades of R. Kelly allegedly sexually assaulting children and women. Two more episodes will air Friday and Saturday. One would think the docuseries would be a blow to Kelly’s career, however, his streams have only increased.
The Blast reports, “A rep for Spotify tells The Blast the ‘Ignition’ singer’s streams have increased 16% since Lifetime aired part 1 of ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ on Thursday night… It’s unclear which R. Kelly track has topped the list of playbacks.”
The streams on Spotify are a bit ironic considering that back in May the streaming service removed his playlist under the terms of policies on public hate content and hateful conduct. Spotify defined “hate content” as “content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. When we are alerted to content that violates our policy, we may remove it (in consultation with rights holders) or refrain from promoting or manually programming it on our service.”
Spotfify said in a statement, “We are removing R. Kelly’s music from all Spotify owned and operated playlists and algorithmic recommendations such as Discover Weekly. His music will still be available on the service, but Spotify will not actively promote it. We don’t censor content because of an artist’s or creator’s behavior, but we want our editorial decisions — what we choose to program — to reflect our values. When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
However, after backlash, his playlists returned to Spotify.
There have been questions if “Surviving R. Kelly” will damage his career, but only time will tell.