Internet rallies behind Nelly after report claims he owes over $2 million to IRS


An unconfirmed report by TMZ late last week has picked up steam this week. The report claims that our favorite grammar teacher, Nelly, has come under fire from the IRS to the tune of $2,412,283. The report also claimed Nelly had already been working with tax authorities to resolve the lien. Nelly had already been hit with almost $150,000 of unpaid state tax fines from Missouri earlier this year.

Fans of the rapper have taken to social media to show support using the hashtag #SaveNelly and advocating streaming his music through Spotify. Spotify pays its artists out based on plays and their percentage of “market share.” Spotify breaks it down like this:

An artist’s royalty payments depend on the following variables, among others:

•In which country people are streaming an artist’s music

• Spotify’s # of paid users as a % of total users; higher % paid, higher “per stream” rate

• Relative premium pricing and currency value in different countries

• An artist’s royalty rate

Recently, these variables have led to an average “per stream” payout to rights holders of between $0.006 and $0.0084. This combines activity across our tiers of service. The effective average “per stream” payout generated by our Premium subscribers is considerably higher.

Using $0.006 and $0.0084 for estimates on each stream, fans have figured out Nelly needs between 402,047,166 and 287,176,547 streams just for the IRS lien. That’s not including the taxes on his income from all these streams or the state taxes he still owes.

There is no evidence that the length of the song influences the payout. Currently the shortest Nelly song on Spotify is “Interlude – Album Version (Edited)” with Cedric the Entertainer at 33 seconds on his 2000 album, Country Grammar. That would require just over 12 million plays to reach the maximum goal.

No further information has been released as to why or how Nelly has such a significant amount of unpaid taxes to the IRS.

Are you streaming Nelly to support him? What’s your favorite Nelly song? How do you feel about bailing artists and celebrities out of financial woes by supporting their work? Tell us in the comments, Google +, Facebook, or Twitter!


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