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May 26, 2019

Michael Jackson and R. Kelly see surges in their music despite serious controversies

March 13, 2019
Despite the negative press Michael Jackson (left) and R. Kelly are currently getting, it’s not affecting their music sales. (Getty Images)

Don’t stop ‘til you get enough . . . downloads!

Despite rising backlash against legendary singer and performer Michael Jackson, online purchases of his singles and albums are on the rise.


While “Leaving Neverland,” the four-hour documentary that focuses on two of Jackson’s alleged sexual abuse victims, has turned off many King of Pop fans, others appear unfazed by the accusations.

Two Jackson albums “The Essential Michael Jackson” (No. 92) and “Thriller” (No. 141) appear on this week’s Billboard 200. Not bad for a guy who died nearly a decade ago.

About 16.5 million Jackson songs were downloaded last week, according to Nielsen Music, which also reported 22.1 million video views of the artist.

R. Kelly, who was the subject of a brutal interview last week conducted by Gayle King, experienced a monster boost in airplay of 71% last week. Despite the rambling face-to-face with King and arrest for failing to pay owed child support, the number of viewers watching his music videos rose a modest 3%.

But Jackson experienced a sharp decline in radio airplay as his song appearances plummeted 21% last week from two weeks ago.

Related Gallery

Michael Jackson 1958-2009: Remembering the King of Pop

Jackson, who died June 25, 2009, from cardiac arrest due to drug intoxication, scored 12 No. 1 songs as a solo artist, and another with Paul McCartney. Twice he has hit the Top 10 posthumously. In 2014, Justin Timberlake recorded “Love Never Felt So Good,” a duet with Jackson, and in 2018, Drake charted with “Don’t Matter to Me,” featuring a 1983 Jackson demo.

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