In the wake of his sex abuse scandal, R. Kelly and Sony Music are parting ways.
Billboard was first to report the news, while sources close to Kelly tell TMZ that the split was agreed upon this week. The end of their relationship comes on the heels of the Lifetime docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” which detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against the 52-year-old singer.
Kelly had been signed to Sony since the early 1990s, and had been under contract with its subsidiary label, RCA Records, since 2012. He has also been removed from the RCA website and his official website, R-Kelly.com, is down. According to Variety, his back catalog will remain with RCA/Sony. His last release on the label was 2016’s holiday album 12 Nights of Christmas.
Earlier this week, it was reported that RCA had halted production of Kelly’s new music until things were resolved. He reportedly had two albums left in his contract and was in the studio recording new music to fulfill his obligations to RCA.
Leading up to the split, there had been online petitions from members of the #MuteRKelly movement demanding that RCA drop Kelly. There have also been #MuteRKelly protests outside Sony’s L.A. and New York offices, while artists including Lady Gaga, Ciara, and Celine Dion have pulled their collaborations off streaming services.
In the meantime, Kelly has been releasing new music via SoundCloud, including this month’s “Born to My Music” and “I Admit,” a 19-minute confessional on which he addresses sexual misconduct allegations.