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The full catalog of the late singer Aaliyah is finally headed to digital streaming platforms.
On Thursday (August 5), Aaliyah’s uncle and Blackground Records founder Barry Hankerson confirmed the label had a new partnership in place with EMPIRE, allowing one of music’s more sought-after catalogs to be available on Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL and more. The move also clears a path for albums from Timbaland & Magoo, Tank, Toni Braxton, JoJo and others to hit streaming services.
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Not long after the news was confirmed, Blackground’s official Twitter account shared a teaser video with the album covers for each album in a storefront, soundtracked by Timbaland & Magoo’s “Up Jumps Da Boogie” featuring Aaliyah and Missy Elliott.
Beginning later this month, the rollout for the Blackground catalog mirrors a major label’s Q4 release pattern. EMPIRE will release One in a Million on August 20, followed by Timbaland & Magoo’s three albums, Welcome to Our World, Indecent Proposal and Under Construction Pt. II, along with Timbo’s solo album, Tim’s Bio on August 27. On September 3, the label will release the Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds soundtracks and Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” from the Dr. Doolittle soundtrack. A week later, they’ll release Aaliyah’s eponymous third album as well as the music video for her single “Miss You.”
On September 17, Tank’s trio of albums, Force of Nature, One Man and Sex, Love & Pain will be made available and a week later, JoJo’s first two albums will be re-released, even though she re-recorded the albums to release on her own accord in 2018. In October, Toni Braxton’s much-beloved Libra album will finally see the light of day again as well as two Aaliyah compilation projects.
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“Since the death of my niece, I don’t have the same relationship I used to have with my sister,” Hankerson told Billboard about the relationship he has with Aaliyah’s mother. “We were very close when we grew up. I don’t know if anybody can imagine, but when you lose a child, or a niece that you really loved, it was difficult for my family. So a lot of things in my family changed.”
Aaliyah’s influence on modern music is evident even 20 years after her untimely passing.
“All you have to do is ask some of the biggest current R&B artists where they got their influence from, and I don’t think there are many interviews where you wouldn’t hear Aaliyah’s name mentioned in some sort of fashion, whether it was the songs, or her fashion sense, or the general spirit that she had,” EMPIRE COO Nima Etminan said. “I remember being a kid and getting together with friends to try to catch the ‘Try Again’ video on MTV and just watching it over and over. I think she stood for something that she didn’t even have to say explicitly — you just kind of felt it in her spirit and her soul.”
Rumors persisted for years regarding Aaliyah’s music coming to streaming services, including a 2019 report detailing the eventual plans. Those ideas didn’t come to fruition, but a full release schedule has been laid out with Hankerson now partnered with EMPIRE.
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Aaliyah & Blackground Records’ Catalog To Finally Hit Streaming Services Beginning August 20
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