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Aaliyah’s Catalogue Finally Arriving To Streaming Platforms



If you were a fan of late nineties and early 2000’s R&B, it was hard to not see Aaliyah. She had a booming music career and an even more promising one in acting. Unfortunately, as you may know, this wonderful talent’s life was lost tragically in a deadly plane crash back in 2001. Aaliyah’s presence has been missed within R&B and she has gone on to influence millions even after her untimely death. It is worth noting that her legacy has endured despite almost none of her catalogue being available on streaming services.

This is said to be changing as we’ve received word that Barry Hankerson, the late singer’s uncle has finally found a suitable agreement to bring Aaliyah’s catalogue to a streaming service near you. Hankerson is the founder of Blackground Records, this is the label in which Aaliyah was signed to along with a dozen of other noteworthy artists such as JoJo, Toni Braxton, and Static Major just to name a few. He gained control over Aaliyah’s master recordings in a move from Jive Records to Atlantic Records. In the wake of Aaliyah’s untimely death, Hankerson possessed unreleased, unmixed vocals and more than a dozen potential songs on two-inch reel to reel tapes. It is said that during this time, he was shopping for a producer to “give the music the sound it deserved” but he never found one.

Aaliyah’s music would continue to languish along with several of the aforementioned artists who would later sue him. His actions according to recording artist JoJo were the cause of her music career stalling and losing momentum as Hankerson sat on recordings and refusing to put out any music. The lawsuits all followed the same pattern settling out of court with all parties signing confidentiality agreements. One such lawsuit however, filed by Hankerson’s ex-girlfriend bore disastrous results as she alleged abuse and that he’d attempted to ruin her life through various abuses utilizing his money and power. He would go on to lose this case and was ordered to pay his ex $5.8 million in damages. Hankerson’s lawyers conferred with his ex’s lawyers and came to an agreement that since he didn’t have the funds to pay her outright they would utilize Blackground Records as a guarantor for the debt.

Hankerson failed to honor the deal, and his ex sued him again in 2015. Coincidentally, by this time Blackground appeared to have ceased all operations, and removed all remnants of his label roster’s catalogue from the internet. Until now….

Hankerson is said to be releasing 17 albums from Blackgrounds catalog over the next two months, on all streaming services. It appears that he has finally obtained a new deal for Aaliyah’s music about a year ago, per the estate’s announcement below

It is to be noted however, that Aaliyah’s estate have no control over her recordings, Hankerson retains sole ownership through Blackground.  The estate would go on releasing statements with one from January and August of this year respectively.

Spotify would go on to post the timeline of when we can expect the release of the late singer’s music on streaming platforms.

It is unclear if her music will stay on these streaming platforms for good, but one thing is for sure is that she is missed and beloved by all who knew her in the physical or through her artistry. It is our hope that this matter can be put to rest just like our beloved Aaliyah and that she can continue to inspire the next generation of up and coming artists.

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