Artist News Legal

R Kelly ordered to use music royalties to pay outstanding child support payments

By | Published on Wednesday 30 October 2019

R Kelly

R Kelly has been ordered to use royalties from his songwriting and recordings catalogues to pay child support to his ex-wife.

Kelly’s legal team appeared before the judge overseeing his child support case on Monday, with a view to reaching a solution as the musician falls behind on payments once again. His attorney Steve Greenberg has previously said that Kelly’s finances are in disarray and that he has been left with limited funds after years of mismanagement.

But at the latest hearing, Greenberg presented a new problem to the court, explaining that Kelly’s bank accounts and assets were seized by federal authorities after he was indicted on child abuse charges in July. That, the lawyer said, was why his client has missed recent payments that were due to his ex-wife.

Kelly was briefly jailed in March after he missed a deadline to pay over $160,000 in unpaid child support. He was freed after three days when an anonymous benefactor cleared the bill on his behalf. That payment took him up to the end of July, at which point he again began racking up more than $20,000 a month in charges, which he has failed to pay.

Following Monday’s hearing, judge Lori Rosen issued an order for the outstanding bill of more than $60,000 and future payments to be taken out of Kelly’s music royalties, according to the Chicago Sun Times. These are possibly held by a business entity, rather than Kelly personally, which would explain how they have remained untouched to date.

Kelly was dropped by his label, Sony Music’s RCA, at the beginning of the year, while his publisher Sony/ATV severed ties with him a year earlier.

Both companies still control his recording and songwriting catalogues, however, so will be paying out royalties as that music generates income. He will also be getting royalties as both an artist and a songwriter through the collective licensing system.

Streaming services, most notably Spotify, have stopped playlisting Kelly’s music, which will likely diminish his royalty income somewhat. However, widespread media coverage of the criminal charges against the musician have, at times, actually renewed interest in his songs, resulting in an uplift in streams.

As the legal wrangling over child support payments continues, Kelly remains in prison awaiting trial on sex abuse charges in both New York and Chicago.