Aaliyah’s music will finally be available on streaming services soon. According to New York Times and Billboard, the CEO of Blackground Records, her uncle Barry Hankerson, has signed a distribution deal with Empire, an independent record label. Thanks to this new deal, Aaliyah’s catalog will no longer be absent from streaming services and her albums One In A Million and Aaliyah will be available on August 20 and September 10 respectively, ahead of the anniversary of her passing. The Romeo Must Die soundtrack will also be released on September 3. The only album of hers that has been available for streaming has been Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number due to the masters being owned by Jive Records. Hankerson was the only one who could release her later albums because he owns the masters to those projects through Blackground Records.
Along with her projects, this deal will also bring albums by Toni Braxton, Tank, Timbaland and JoJo to streaming services as well. Unfortunately, JoJo made it clear that she wouldn’t be benefiting from this because she won’t be receiving any royalties from the streams. It’s unclear if this is true for Aaliyah’s estate and the other artists.
As the 20th anniversary of her death approaches, Aaliyah’s name has been in the headlines quite frequently. Just earlier this week, an author named Kathy Iandoli announced that in her upcoming book, Baby Girl: Better Known As Aaliyah, there are claims that she was drugged before boarding a flight that took her life along with right others on August 25, 2001. Aaliyah’s estate then released a statement calling out whoever us trying to “leech” off of the “More Than A Woman” singer’s legacy using “shadowy tactics” to release her music and unauthorized projects.
Her name has also come in talks about the upcoming R. Kelly trial. The disgraced singer has been accused of marrying Aaliyah when she was 15-years-old and he was 27, for many years, but he never admitted to it and she never spoke about it while she was alive. The alleged marriage will be used as evidence during the trial, which starts next week. Kelly is accused of running a criminal enterprise in order to recruit underage girls to engage in sexual activity with. Regarding Aaliyah, he’s accused of having one of his team members bribe an Illinois government official in order to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah that read she was 18 years of age so they could get married.