Fans of Aaliyah have long known the struggle of trying to stream and download the late singer’s small but influential oeuvre. For the longest time, only her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, has been available digitally. As Complex recently revisited in an investigation into the matter, Aaliyah’s absence online is a result of her uncle Barry Hankerson, who owns the licensing rights to the majority of Aaliyah’s masters, completely shunning streaming and iTunes. Every now and then, her later albums will conspicuously pop up on digital services, like One in a Million and Aaliyah did on iTunes in 2013, and inevitably vanish. (Usually with a lawsuit involved). Now, once again, Aaliyah has found her way back online.
Overnight, her greatest hits album, Ultimate Aaliyah, mysteriously went up on Apple Music and iTunes credited to Craze Productions, the same distribution company that got in hot water for putting Aaliyah’s music online four years ago without proper authorization. It’s the first time Aaliyah classics like “One in a Million,” “Rock the Boat,” and “Are You That Somebody” have hit any streaming service, so enjoy the short-lived thrill of pressing play on Aaliyah with relative ease (if you have Apple Music, that is) while it lasts. Alas, it likely won’t.
Update: As expected, Ultimate Aaliyah has been removed from both Apple Music and iTunes. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!