The entire Aaliyah catalog may soon be appearing on music streaming services like Spotify.
For years, the R&B artists’ catalog has been notoriously absent from streaming services. Only her 1994 debut hit, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number,” and a few singles legally appear on streaming services. But that may change as her estate’s rights holders are now working to authorize the tracks.
Earlier today, the Aaliyah Estate tweeted to cautiously give fans hope that Aaliyah’s full catalog will soon be able to stream. “To our loyal fans: We are excited to announce that communication has commenced between the estate and various record labels about the status of Aaliyah’s music catalogue, as well as its availability on streaming platforms in the near future,” the tweet reads.
Aaliyah tragically died in a plane crash in 2001 when she was just 22. She was famously briefly married to R. Kelly after he helped her obtain a fake ID at the age of 15. Her parents worked to help get the marriage annulled, and afterwards, she began working with Timbaland and Missy Elliott on her second album.
The resulting One in a Million album debuted in 1996. Her self-titled album Aaliyah debuted just a few weeks before her untimely death in 2001.
Her music and the rights to it have famously been entangled for years because of her death. Blackground Records owned rights to all three of her albums.
The defunct label was founded by Barry and Jomo Hankerson. Barry Hankerson was R. Kelly’s manager for ten years – and also Aaliyah’s uncle. Each of Aaliyah’s albums was distributed with a different label. Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number is with R. Kelly’s former label, Jive Records. Jive still owns the rights to that album, so that’s the only one of her albums available for streaming now.
Atlantic Records distributed One in a Million, and her self-titled 2001 album Aaliyah was distributed by Virgin Records America, which is now owned by Universal Music. Blackground Records has not released any new records since 2013, finding itself mired in lawsuits. No one at Blackground has responded to requests for more information about the cryptic tweet.
So perhaps Aaliyah fans will be able to stream her music on services like Spotify soon — but who knows.
Aaliyah’s illegal marriage to R. Kelly has made headlines again after the singer was charged with sexual misconduct. Hankerson severed ties with R. Kelly in 2000 over what were then just rumors. But new evidence has come to light that reveals the vast extent of R. Kelly’s sexual abuse.