After being out of print for the better part of two decades, Aaliyah’s biggest albums will be made accessible on streaming services.
The late R&B singer’s final two albums, One in a Million and Aaliyah, had been in the works for years due to legal difficulties and familial tensions.
As the 20th anniversary of her death approaches, an agreement has been reached to release the albums.
One in a Million will be released on August 20th, kicking off the rollout.
The soundtracks of the film Romeo Must Die, in which Aaliyah co-starred, as well as the collections Ultimate Aaliyah and I Care 4 U, will be released throughout the rest of the year.
The long-out-of-print CD and vinyl editions will also be released, fetching hundreds of dollars on the secondary market.
Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson, whose Blackground Records controlled the rights to the star’s back catalogue – with the exception of her first album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, which is presently her sole record available on streaming sites – confirmed the news.
“To bring Aaliyah and Blackground’s history to a new audience,”a Hankerson stated of his new relationship with music distribution firm Empire.
It will also allow Timbaland, Toni Braxton, and JoJo to release albums that had previously been unavailable on streaming sites.
After a decade-long legal fight with the company, JoJo ultimately re-recorded her Blackground albums, but she assured fans she wouldn’t receive any money from the re-releases.
“Just so you know,” she said on Twitter, “a stream of the re-recorded 2018 version supports me and helps me continue to do what I love.”
“Unfortunately, streaming the original does not.”
Aaliyah died in 2001 when the plane she was in crashed and caught fire shortly after taking off in the Bahamas.
The singer was on her way to the island to film a music video for her hit, Rock The Boat. Eight other passengers, including video director Douglas Kratz and record label executive Gina Smith, were slain.
The plane was overweight at the moment of takeoff, according to an enquiry by the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States.
With sleek, futuristic tunes like We Need A Resolution, More Than A Woman, and Are You That Somebody?, the 22-year-old singer had already made an indelible mark on R&B.
Rihanna, Drake, Alicia Keys, and Beyoncé have all cited her influence in their work.
After Blackground’s distribution arrangements with Universal Songs dried up in the early 2000s, the star’s uncle said that the family’s sadness was partially to blame for keeping her music out of circulation.
Aaliyah’s mother, in particular, was opposed to the song being re-released.
He told Billboard magazine, “There was a talk we had about her not wanting the song out, and whatever my sister told me, I tried to do what she wanted me to do.”
“I’d understand as a parent if she didn’t want the music turned off. Because who wants to hear the voice of their missing daughter? So when she said that, I told her, ‘OK, we’re not going to put it out.’ I’m not sure when, but we’ll get there.’ We basically packed everything up and moved on to our next destination.”