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Aaliyah’s biggest albums to be added to streaming services for the first time

Her estate have expressed their opposition to the move

  • Tope Olufemi
  • 6 August 2021
Aaliyah’s biggest albums to be added to streaming services for the first time

Aaliyah’s discography is to be made available on streaming services from this month, against the wishes of her estate.

In a statement about the situation, her estate said: "Protecting Aaliyah’s legacy is, and always will be, our focus."

"For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorised projects targeted to tarnish. We have always been confused as to why there is such tenacity in causing more pain alongside what we already have to cope with for the rest of our lives.’

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There was no mention of Blackground Records, Aaliyah’s label, or her uncle Barry Hankerson - who founded and ran the label, and has control over the late singer's music - though more clarity was provided by a lawyer for the estate.

“Since the early 2000s, only Aaliyah’s first album Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number has been available on streaming platforms because the right to distribute that record has been held by major record companies under contract with Aaliyah’s record label, Blackground Records,” The estate’s lawyer, Paul LiCalsi, said.

He continued: ”Other than that first album, virtually the entire remainder of her catalogue, including many never released tracks, has been inexplicably withheld from the public by Blackground Records.”

Blackground Records are planning to release Aaliyah’s music beginning this month with ‘One in a Million’ making its way to streaming platforms on August 20, with other projects to follow alongside compilations throughout September and October.

Read this next: Dance music should be wary of posthumous releases

Licalsi pointed towards a ‘gross lack of transparency' from the label, saying:

“For almost 20 years, Blackground has failed to account to the Estate with any regularity in accordance with [Aaliyah's] recording contracts. In addition, the Estate was not made aware of the impending release of the catalog until after the deal was complete and plans were in place. The Estate has demanded that Blackground provide a full account of its past earnings, and full disclosure of the terms of its new deal to distribute Aaliyah’s long embargoed music.”

Though the releases are against the wishes of her family, the estate said that Blackground’s poor communication ‘compels our heart to express a word - forgiveness.’

Tope Olufemi is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow them on Twitter
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