For nearly the entire decade or so that music streaming platforms have been a thing, there’s been one artist’s catalog more elusive than any other — that of late R&B singer Aaliyah Houghton, known mononymously as Aaliyah. Known for breaking boundaries and elevating the style in the late ’90s and early-2000s, as well as pioneering the first big breakthrough to Hollywood for hip-hop-generation R&B singers with hit films like Romeo Must Die and Queen Of The Damned, Aaliyah’s catalog has been subject to a legal dispute sparked by her death in 2001 that prevented her music from ever being provided to streamers.
That is, until recently. Today, for the first time, Aaliyah’s music became available on streaming via a partnership between her original label Blackground and Empire, the independent distributor, as One In A Million, her second album and first produced by Timbaland, hit streaming services. Technically, the label is now called Blackground Records 2.0 but it’s still under the ownership of Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager Barry Hankerson. Within hours, it had reached the top spots on nearly every service, to the joy of fans. Meanwhile, Aaliyah’s estate recently released a statement condemning the release, calling it an “unscrupulous endeavor to release Aaliyah’s music without any transparency or full accounting to the estate.”
That hasn’t stopped fans from rejoicing in the music’s availability, as multiple generations informed and influenced by such hits as “One In A Million,” “Try Again,” “Are You That Somebody?” and “Rock The Boat” re-discover her groundbreaking oeuvre. Blackground 2.0 intends to continue rolling out the remainder of Aaliyah’s catalog in the comings weeks, so don’t be surprised to see more of the same for a while. Check out the responses below.
i’m sorry but these numbers after an hour and 45 mins post-release just confirms how influential and important we’ve been saying aaliyah is for the past 20 years pic.twitter.com/ynFksW5wl9
— steven j. horowitz (@speriod) August 20, 2021
Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, and Timbaland were a special team that gave us timeless music.
Glad the family & label are able to start getting Aaliyah’s music on streaming ❤ pic.twitter.com/kDk1dNiycT
— Ruben | Check the Rhyme (@checktherhyme1) August 20, 2021
today isn’t the day to argue with R&B fans, especially aaliyah fans.
— Brandon Caldwell (@_brandoc) August 20, 2021
aaliyah got a 25 year old album at #1 within an hour ahhhhh that’s history pic.twitter.com/KN7saZWLgE
— BABYGIRL🦋#StreamAaliyahsMusic (@rockthelboat) August 20, 2021
One In A Million is 25 years old and is #1 on iTunes right now, we won pic.twitter.com/cCtRD6L6Nr
— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) August 20, 2021
80’s babies WINNING with the streaming releases of Aaliyah and Timbaland content. pic.twitter.com/6WaIBUKlej
— Avery Envy (@_AveryEnvy) August 20, 2021
— prettyboyyyy 🦚 (@salregalado_) August 20, 2021