In order for Aaliyah fans to listen to her majority of the late singer’s music, YouTube is the only source, unless of course, they have the physical copies of her albums. For years, fans have been pressing for her estate to make her music available on streaming platforms. There have been a few mishaps along the way, but on the 19-year anniversary of her death, her estate says plans are finally in motion to make her music widely available.
Why Aaliyah’s music isn’t currently available for streaming?
With the exception of Aaliyah’s first album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, and a few singles from various film, Aaliyah’s total discography is currently unavailable across streaming platforms.
According to a 2016 Complex Magazine feature, Aaliyah’s uncle and manager, Barry Hankerson is to blame. Hankerson’s role extended beyond management to include him as an executive producer on all of her albums and the manager of her publishing and royalty deals.
Those who work closely with Hankerson reveal in the feature that Aaliyah’s death took a toll on him – so much so that Hankerson holds her catalog tightly.
“Barry can’t be in the room when the new music is playing,” says Hankerson’s business partner, Rell Lafargue.
As the transition to digital began, Hankerson refused to allow his label to participate in the change, leaving Aaliyah’s music behind. Hankerson currently owns the rights to Aaliyah’s music and is picky with whom he shares it with.
Despite the fear of her music fading into obscurity, and Aaliyah’s estate being able to financially profit off of streaming, it appears Hankerson remains resistant.
Aaliyah’s estate says fans can look forward to her music available on streaming platforms soon
On the 18th anniversary of Aaliyah’s death, a Twitter account alleging to be Hankerson’s surprised fans. In an announcement, the account alleges that her music would be available on streaming platforms within a year.
“We listened, this is not a drill in honor of the great legacy of #Aaliyah,” it reads. The tweet also tagged popular streaming services Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal.
The music was to be released on the platforms on Aaliyah’s birthday in 2020. The date came and went and the Twitter account has since been deleted.
View this post on Instagram
“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.” – Aaliyah . Today and always, we celebrate Aaliyah, her beautiful legacy and spirit 🖤 . 📷 @albertwatsonphotography . . #aaliyah #aaliyahhaughton #music #aaliyahforever #inspiredbyaaliyah #babygirl #legend
But, fans of Aaliyah’s prayers have been answered, or at least are close to coming to fruition. The official Instagram account of her estate released an update on the status of streaming availability of her music on August 25 in a post. The post reads:
To our loyal fans: We are excited to announce that communication has commenced between the estate and various record labels about the status of Aaliyah’s music catalog, as well as its availability on streaming platforms in the near future. Thank you for your continued love and support. More updates to come!
The estate has also promised several other projects, including a posthumous album of unreleased recordings. According to the Complex article, the production of the album was a disastrous process, as Hankerson was never satisfied with producers.
Fans are hoping that along with streaming, they’ll finally hear new music from Aaliyah.
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