Less than 24 hours after Aaliyah‘s Ultimate Aaliyah mysteriously surfaced on both iTunes and Apple Music, the greatest hits collection — including “Rock the Boat,” “Are You That Somebody” and more — has already vanished.
Ultimate Aaliyah has been removed from both Apple platforms, suggesting that the longtime legal dispute that has kept the popular ’90s R&B singer’s music from being available through online retailers is still ongoing. This is reportedly due to Aaliyah’s uncle Barry Hankerson, who managed the singer, and his refusal to release her music digitally, as explained in a Complex magazine feature just one month prior to the digital appearance of Ultimate Aaliyah.
As a result of the withholding, none of Aaliyah’s music other than her 1994 debut, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, is available to fans on any digital markets such as Spotify, Amazon and Apple’s platforms. This includes her second and third albums, One in a Million and Aaliyah, which feature popular hits like “If Your Girl Only Knew” and “Try Again.”
The strange appearance of the now-removed album was credited to Craze Productions, the company that was responsible for a controversial Aaliyah leak in 2013 for which they were sued and ordered to remove the music.
It’s still unclear what inspired the Aaliyah release this time around — or if Craze Productions had legally obtained the music this time — but Rell Lafargue, COO of Reservoir Media (the current rightsholder Aaliyah’s entire discography) told Complex that the company’s lawyers were “handling it” and fans shouldn’t expect to see it available for long. Looks like he wasn’t kidding.
Billboard has reached out to Apple for comment.