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Aaliyah’s music finally coming to streaming, 20 years after her death

Aaliyah's music finally coming to streaming, 20 years after her death

Aaliyah’s music is finally heading to streaming services, nearly 20 years after the singer died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. The influential R&B singer was nominated for five Grammy Awards and won three American Music Awards and two MTV Video Music Awards in her brief life, and her music has continued to sell after her 2001 death. She died when she was just 22.

The first of Aaliyah’s music to hit streaming will be her second album, 1996’s One in a Million, which will arrive on Aug. 20. Aaliyah’s uncle, Barry Hankerson, the founder of Blackground Records, told Billboard he’s partnering with San Francisco Bay Area music company Empire to bring the entire Blackground catalog to streaming.

Streaming service Spotify tweeted using Aaliyah’s nickname, saying, “Baby Girl is coming to Spotify.”

Hankerson said the company would release a new album from its catalog weekly. After One in a Million on Aug. 20, the soundtrack to Romeo Must Die, the 2000 action film Aaliyah starred in alongside Jet Li, will come out Sept. 3. Her 2001 studio album Aaliyah will come out Sept. 10. 

Not all the Blackground albums Empire is bringing to streaming are by Aaliyah. The output will include albums by Timbaland, Toni Braxton, JoJo and Tank. 

Aaliyah’s estate does not control her music, but does maintain her official Twitter account. On Wednesday, the estate tweeted a lengthy and convoluted statement hashtagged #IStandWithAaliyah that said in part, “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.”

Paul V. LiCalsi, a lawyer for the estate, told The New York Times that “the estate was not made aware of the impending release of the catalog until after the deal was complete and plans were in place.”

But for fans, all that might matter is that the music is coming. Fans haven’t been able to get much of Aaliyah’s music on streaming before, although the Times points out that her 1994 debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, remained available through Sony Music.

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