How and where to hear Aaliyah’s albums after their long-awaited release
Aaliyah’s music is now available on digital streaming platforms following a contentious dispute between her original record label and her estate, with the star’s self-titled third album released Friday.
Two decades after the Grammy-nominated artist’s death at age 22 in a Bahamas plane crash, fans can finally listen to more of her music online. Prior to last month, most of her catalog wasn’t available to the public.
Revived in August from its original incarnation, Blackground Records 2.0 — a label founded by Aaliyah’s cousin Jomo Hankerson and uncle and manager Barry Hankerson — publicized Aug. 4 that “Aaliyah is coming.”
While Spotify announced Aaliyah’s debut on the platform via Twitter the next day, the late singer’s estate quickly took to Instagram to express its disdain and continued dedication to protecting her legacy.
Blackground Records 2.0 announced that late R&B singer Aaliyah’s music will be released this year for streaming, but her estate objects.
Though the estate is operated by Aaliyah’s mother, Diane Haughton, and brother Rashad, Hankerson owns the vast portion of her catalog, ultimately permitting Friday’s release in collaboration with distribution and record company Empire.
Though fans have expressed online their mixed feelings about listening to Aaliyah’s music amid the estate debacle, here’s where and how to stream Aaliyah’s three studio albums.
Up next, listeners can expect the posthumous compilations “I Care 4 U” and “Ultimate Aaliyah” on Oct. 8. (CD and vinyl editions of multiple Aaliyah titles are also available for preorder on Amazon.)
More than 15 years after her death, Aaliyah’s presence can still be felt as her influence percolates through a new generation of artists — Tinashe, Banks, SZA and Jhené Aiko are just some of today’s acts that can be traced to her.
‘Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number’
Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album was released when she was only 14, trumpeting her arrival in the R&B genre.
Produced by R. Kelly, who is now facing federal charges for alleged sex crimes, the album yielded two gold singles: “Back & Forth” and “At Your Best (You Are Love).” The album, which was for years the only one available online, can be accessed on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, Tidal and YouTube Music.
‘One in a Million’
Aaliyah’s sophomore effort was released Aug. 13, 1996, by Blackground and Atlantic Records. It marked the first of numerous collaborations with industry titans such as Timbaland and Missy Elliott. Selling more than 3 million copies in the United States upon its original release, the rereleased album debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart last week.
The 18-track album became available for streaming Aug. 19 at midnight, and listeners can stream or purchase it on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, Tidal and YouTube Music.
A woman testified Monday that singer R. Kelly sexually abused her when she was 17 and married the late Aaliyah to sign off on her abortion.
Colloquially known as “The Red Album,” Aaliyah’s self-titled third release was her last before her death in August 2001. Opening with the song “We Need a Resolution” (featuring Timbaland), the album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart, solidifying her imprint and legacy on R&B.
“Aaliyah” was originally released in July 2001 by Blackground Records and Virgin Records and became available Friday on Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, Tidal and YouTube Music.
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