Can fans of rapper Nelly help ease his tax woes?

Rapper Nelly (Cornell Iral Haynes Jr.) is getting some unexpected help in paying off an IRS tax lien that tops $2 million.

Spin magazine is urging Nelly’s fans to stream hits like his 2002 “Hot in Herre,” from his “Nellyville” album, over the music-streaming service Spotify to help the performer raise enough money to pay his tax bill.

The one problem with this unsolicited financial advice -- and it’s a big one – is that the Swedish music service doesn’t pay much in per-play royalties. Artists earn between 0.006 cents and 0.0084 per stream, which has long been a sore point with some musicians. 

That means fans will need to need to stream “Hot in Herre” between 287 million and 403 million times for Nelly to “make a decent dent on his tax issues,” according to Spin.

“Dedicating hundreds of millions of streams seems like a titanic task, but there are Nelly fans everywhere to pitch in,” Spin said. “If you don’t know any Nellyville residents, though, then you’ll have to dedicate at least 1,405,864,580 minutes to the cause.”

Believe it or not, fans are rallying to chip in and have taken to Twitter to announce they’re streaming “Hot in Herre” using the hashtag “SaveNelly”. As one user named Deandre Moore tweeted: “I’m over here trying to pay Nelly’s IRS bill while my bills continue to stack. Don’t ever call me selfish.”

Though Nelly is no doubt flattered by the outpouring of fan support, he isn’t taking any chances. According to TMZ, the rapper is working with authorities to resolve his tax bill, which is among the largest the site has ever seen a celebrity rack up.

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    Jonathan Berr is an award-winning journalist and podcaster based in New Jersey whose main focus is on business and economic issues.