Aaliyah Music Streaming | POPSUGAR Entertainment

UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 01:  Photo of AALIYAH  (Photo by Sal Idriss/Redferns)

Image Source: Getty / Sal Idriss

Music icon Aaliyah released countless hits during her career and, for years, many of them weren’t available to stream — until last August. For the first time since the early 2000s — with the exception of Aaliyah’s debut album “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” — all of the singer’s music was released on streaming platforms, starting with her sophomore offering, “One In A Million,” with her other works eventually arriving weeks later.

The gesture was announced just days before the 20th anniversary of her death on Aug. 25, 2001. Aaliyah’s superstar success was, unfortunately, cut short when she and others died in a plane crash in the Bahamas a day after she shot her “Rock the Boat” music video. She was 22 years old.

To celebrate Aaliyah’s legacy, excited fans long wished to stream her music online last year, but the back-and-forth battle between the late singer’s estate and her uncle and former manager, Blackground Records founder Barry Hankerson, made it nearly impossible to do so. The two parties engaged in a fierce fight over Aaliyah’s rights to her catalog for years, but on Aug. 4, 2021, a social media account named Blackground Records 2.0 shared a new website and hashtag that teased, “Aaliyah is coming.”

Shortly after, Billboard reported that Hankerson secured a deal with Empire to make Blackground’s catalog — including Aaliyah’s works and albums by artists like Timbaland & Magoo, Tank, Toni Braxton, and JoJo — available to stream for the first time ever. Digital and physical purchases also included vinyls, cassettes, and CDs. Following the release of “One in a Million” on Aug. 20, 2021, “ΛΛLIYΛH” arrived on Sept. 10, and “I Care 4 U” and “Ultimate Aaliyah” appeared on streaming services on Oct. 8. However, not everyone was pleased about the rollout.

After the Blackground 2.0 Records social media account emerged, Aaliyah’s estate tweeted a statement on Aug. 4, 2021, criticizing the release of unauthorized projects from the late singer. “Protecting Aaliyah’s legacy is, and always will be, our focus,” the estate said. “For 20 years we have battled behind the scenes, enduring shadowy tactics of deception with unauthorized projects targeted to tarnish. . . . Now, in this 20th year, this unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate compels our hearts to express a word — forgiveness.”

The estate added that they will continue to “defend ourselves and her legacy lawfully and justly.” In response to Blackground 2.0 Records’s website, the estate shared a hashtag of their own, #IStandWithAaliyah, in their tweet. Missy Elliott, who collaborated with Aaliyah on several occasions and was a longtime friend, shared a screenshot of the estate’s statement on Twitter.

In addition to Aaliyah’s previous works being made available against her estate’s wishes, on Dec. 17, 2021, Blackground Records 2.0 announced a posthumous album from Aaliyah would be releasing titled “Unstoppable,” with never-heard-before music and features from Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, Drake, Future, Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, and The Weeknd — which was met with backlash for production quality. According to Billboard, the album was due to release in January of this year, but no other updates have been shared since.

In honor of the 21st anniversary of her death, revisit Aaliyah’s old albums on all major DSPs now.

Additional reporting by Njera Perkins

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