The music industry continues to come to terms this week with the recent allegations against Ryan Adams, which saw multiple women—including one who was underage at the time—accuse him of engaging in emotionally and sexually abusive behavior against them. Universal Music Group pulled his upcoming album off its release schedule yesterday, and the FBI has announced that it’s investigating some of the charges against him. Now those reactions are trickling down to the radio stations where songs like his new single “Fuck The Rain” have been a consistent presence for decades, per a new Billboard investigative piece.
Earlier this week, “Rain” was sitting in the top 20 of Billboard’s Adult Alternative charts; now, Nielsen Music reports that it’s rapidly slipping off station rotations across the country. Billboard reached out to multiple station programmers about the decision, some of whom were willing to open up about it. “Once we got his texts of him sexually harassing a 14-year-old girl, it was like, no, we have to stop,” one said. Another, speaking anonymously, was more frank: “On the one hand, I believe in innocent until proven guilty, but on the other hand, in the court of public opinion, he has already been convicted. And public opinion is what impacts our listeners.”
It’s unclear how long the move away from Adams’ frequently lucrative output will stick; just last year, Spotify ran into controversy when it attempted to modulate its musical curation in response to the off-stage actions of high-profile artists/alleged abusers like R. Kelly. The unofficial nature of the removal will presumably insulate the stations from some of the backlash that greeted the streamer’s “Hateful Conduct” policy, though. Meanwhile, Adams’ radio promoters at Capitol have so far declined to comment on the news.