This week, Spotify announced that Aaliyah‘s entire back catalogue will soon be available to listen to via the streaming platform for the first time ever. The news comes after what has been a long battle between her estate and her uncle and former manager, Barry Hankerson, over her music’s ownership.
As it’s coming up to the 20th anniversary of Aaliyah’s death, discussions surrounding streaming access had begun again between both parties. Hankerson owns the singer’s masters, which has lead to the ongoing battle between him and her estate. He has wanted to get her music on platforms, and her estate has not.
Blackground 2.0, a label run by Hankerson, has recently struck up a deal with EMPIRE in order to get her remaining works on streaming services. Hankerson has recently revived the label, promising fans via social media that “Aaliyah is coming”. He will also be putting the rest of the label’s catalogue on streaming services.
The news comes just one day after Aaliyah’s estate in a post to Instagram, refuted Hankerson’s claims, saying that they would not allow “unauthorized projects” to “tarnish” her legacy.
“We have always been confused as to why there is such a tenacity in causing more pain alongside what we already have to cope with for the rest of our lives,” her estate wrote.
“This unscrupulous endeavour to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word—forgiveness.”
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Currently, only a small portion of her back catalogue is available to stream, including her 1994 debut LP Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, and a few of her earlier EP’s. Notably, her other records including One In A Million and Aaliyah, have not been available to stream, but that’s about to change.
The first record to hit streaming services will be her second album One In A Million, on Friday, 20th August.
Following that, will be the Romeo Must Die Soundtrack on Friday, 3rd September, followed by her self-titled album on Friday, 10th September, and rounding out with two compilations – I Care 4 U and Ultimate Aaliyah on Friday, 8th October.