The long-awaited streaming release of Aaliyah’s 1996 album One in a Million has arrived today, as promised by the label Blackground Records earlier this month. The release is underscored by a dispute between Blackground’s Barry Hankerson—Aaliyah’s uncle and former manager who owns her masters—and the Estate of Aaliyah Haughton.
“Aaliyah’s Estate has always been ready to share Aaliyah’s musical legacy but has been met with contention and a gross lack of transparency,” Paul LiCalsi, an attorney for the estate, said in a statement earlier this month. “For almost 20 years, Blackground has failed to account to the Estate with any regularity in accordance with her recording contracts. In addition, the Estate was not made aware of the impending release of the catalog until after the deal was complete and plans were in place. The Estate has demanded that Blackground provide a full account of its past earnings, and full disclosure of the terms of its new deal to distribute Aaliyah’s long embargoed music.”
Blackground claimed to Billboard that a royalty payment was made to the estate earlier this year. “The estate will receive everything that it is entitled to receive pursuant to the terms of our agreement. Blackground has shared our rollout plans with representatives for the estate and provided them with the opportunity to participate and provide input and the estate elected not to do so.”
One in a Million features numerous collaborations with Missy Elliott and Timbaland, plus contributions from Slick Rick, Jermaine Dupri, and Treach. It includes “One in a Million,” the Diane Warren–penned single “The One I Gave My Heart To,” “If Your Girl Only Knew,” and “Hot Like Fire.”
Aaliyah died in a 2001 plane crash at age 22. Until now, the only Aaliyah album officially available on streaming services was her 1994 debut Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.