There has been a steady build-up of pressure on Sony and its RCA Records subsidiary to drop R. Kelly, in the wake of the latest set of allegations about his personal life. It has now emerged that Sony and R. Kelly, in Billboard’s words, “have agreed to part ways”.
The news comes after several artists removed their past collaborations with Kelly from streaming and download services, as well as a demonstration last week outside Sony Music’s office. Kelly’s back catalogue remains available.
As the news broke, it was also revealed that Kelly had already parted ways with publisher Universal Music Publishing Group – and that this had happened last spring. “UMPG no longer represents R. Kelly,” a spokesperson told Billboard.
Campaigning group UltraViolet, which had played a prominent role in the protests, welcomed the Sony news. “It is long past time that Sony Music and RCA Records sever ties with R. Kelly,” said co-founder Shaunna Thomas, who also returned attention to digital-music services. “Now we look to music platforms like Spotify and IHeartRadio, who continue to allow abusers like R. Kelly to reap in profits and expand their fan base, to send a clear signal that they stand with survivors, not abusers, and take steps to sever ties with R. Kelly.”