R. Kelly’s new album was released without permission, lawyer says


A collection of new R. Kelly songs that appeared briefly on Spotify and Apple Music on Friday were an “unauthorized” release of stolen music, the incarcerated R&B singer’s attorney has claimed.

Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s attorney, told The Washington Post that the 13-track album is “Mr. Kelly’s music that’s in the hands of people who shouldn’t have it.” The songs – all recorded before Kelly’s imprisonment – appeared on digital platforms on Friday and was taken down within hours, leaving many listeners surprised and confused.

Bonjean said Kelly’s master tapes were stolen at the time of his February 2019 sex crime arrest, potentially via recording equipment or a hard drive. She declined to identify potential culprits.

“People have stolen his music before, so it’s happened, but usually it shows up on YouTube or it’s usually, like, a track,” Bonjean said. “It was unusual because it was streaming on Spotify and Apple. We still don’t know why they started streaming it.

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Representatives for Apple Music and Spotify did not immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment. Talk to Varietya Spotify representative said, “This content has been removed from the platform at the request of the distributor.”

The songs, collectively billed as ‘I Admit It’ on streaming services, included tracks titled ‘Air’, ‘I Found Love’, ‘Freaky Sensation’ and ‘The Last Man Standing’, according to posted screenshots. on social networks. The album concluded with “I Admit It (I Did It)”, a 19-minute song previously released on SoundCloud in July 2018. The track, on which Kelly addresses the sexual abuse allegations against her, was was divided into three parts when it was published. on digital platforms on Friday.

Billboard and Variety reported that the album was released by the Real Talk Entertainment label and uploaded through Ingrooves, a Universal Music Group distributor who both outlets said is now cutting ties with Real Talk. The songs were reportedly released through a Real Talk sub-label called Legacy Recordings, which shares the same name as a Sony Music label.

A representative for Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings confirmed to The Post that it has not released the songs. Representatives for Ingrooves and Real Talk could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kelly, 55, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June after a New York jury found him guilty of sex trafficking and racketeering, charges stemming from allegations that he abused women and minors for nearly three decades. A The Chicago jury convicted him in September of child pornography and sexual abuse charges in a second federal trial, with his sentencing scheduled for February.

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A chart-topping recording artist, Kelly released 14 studio albums from 1993 to 2016 and won three Grammys for her hit “I Believe I Can Fly.” He’s become one of the highest-profile artists to face legal ramifications for sexual misconduct amid the #MeToo movement.

Bonjean said he spoke to Kelly, who is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, on Friday to inform him of the leak.

“His criminal cases are first and foremost,” Bonjean said. “But yeah, it’s always been on our minds, and it’s very hard to know who has [the music]. It’s a question of how to get it back. She said she believed a complaint had already been filed with the police about the masters, “but law enforcement didn’t really want to do anything about it.”

Bonjean added: “It’s not [Kelly’s] main objective, but it’s something that needs to be prioritized at some point and we’re trying to build a team to get to the bottom of it.

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