The long-awaited streaming release of Aaliyah’s 1996 album One in a Million arrived today, as promised by Blackground Records earlier this month. The release is underscored by a dispute between Blackground’s Barry Hankerson – Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager who owns her masters – and Aaliyah Haughton’s estate.
“Always ready to share Aaliyah’s musical legacy, Aaliyah’s Estate has faced controversy and a gross lack of transparency,” said Paul LiCalsi, an attorney for the estate, in a statement earlier this month. “For nearly 20 years Blackground has not been regularly accountable to the Estate in accordance with their record deals. In addition, the estate was only made aware of the forthcoming publication of the catalog after the deal and the planning had been completed. The Estate has requested Blackground provide a full report of his past earnings and full disclosure of the terms of his new contract to distribute Aaliyah’s long-embargoed music. “
Blackground alleged to Billboard that a license fee was paid to the property earlier this year. “The estate receives everything that is due to it under our agreement. Blackground has shared our rollout plans with representatives of the estate and given them the opportunity to participate and contribute, and the estate has chosen not to do so. “
One in a Million features numerous collaborations with Missy Elliott and Timbaland as well as contributions from Slick Rick, Jermaine Dupri and Treach. It includes “One in a Million”, Diane Warren’s single “The One I Gave My Heart To”, “If Your Girl Only Knew” and “Hot Like Fire”.
Aaliyah died in a plane crash in 2001 at the age of 22. So far, the only Aaliyah album officially available on streaming services was their 1994 debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.
Read “Aaliyah, Britney, and the Commodification of an Artist’s Legacy.”