Much of Aaliyah’s most popular music, in particular, is not available for streaming. Her albums One in a Million (1996) and Aaliyah (2001) as well as singles like “Are You That Somebody?” Have stayed away from digital streaming platforms. Only early singles and their debut album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number (1994) are available. On Wednesday (August 4), fans speculated on social media about a streaming release after the Blackground Records 2.0 account shared a new website and hashtag: #AaliyahIsComing.
The original Blackground Records released most of Aaliyah’s music and belonged to the uncle of the late singer and former manager Barry Hankerson. Hankerson owns the majority of Aaliyah’s masters along with Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, and he’s confirmed he’s behind the label’s “2.0” revival.
The Aaliyah Haughton estate released a statement Wednesday, August 4th detailing how they “fought behind the scenes and endured shadowy deception with unauthorized projects aimed at tarnishing”. The statement criticized an unnamed “unscrupulous effort to publish Aaliyah’s music without transparency or full accounting with the estate”. The statement goes on:
While we will continue to legitimately and justly defend ourselves and her legacy, we want to forestall the inevitable attacks on our characters by all those who have emerged from the shadows to steal Aaliyah’s life’s work. Ultimately, we wish for a closure and a minimum of peace so that we can fuel the growth of the Aaliyah Memorial Fund and other creative projects that embody Aaliyah’s true essence, which is to empower people of all faiths, races and cultures around the world and inspire positivity.
The property offered its own hashtag – #IStandWithAaliyah – and Missy Elliott tweeted the property’s tweet. Earlier this year, the estate stated, “Although we share your feelings and your desire for Aaliyah’s music to be released, we must acknowledge that these matters are out of our control and unfortunately take time.”
A complex 2016 article, The Inexplicable Online Absence of Aaliyah’s Best Music, outlined how One in a Million and Aaliyah were illegally uploaded to iTunes in 2013 by a distribution company called Craze Digital, which did not own the rights to their music. A collection of Aaliyah’s hits were uploaded to streaming services in 2017 but soon removed.