Stay classy, Sony. According to the Guardian, after Whitney Houston’s death, her label raised the price of at least one of her albums to take advantage of the immediate spike in sales:
The music giant is understood to have lifted the wholesale price of Houston’s greatest hits album, The Ultimate Collection, at about 4am California time on Sunday. This meant that the iTunes retail price of the album automatically increased from £4.99 to £7.99. Houston’s The Ultimate Collection, originally released in 1997, was the second top-selling album on iTunes on Monday morning. Apple returned the album to its original price late on Sunday.
It seems like it ought to have been enough for Sony to privately enjoy the revitalization of an album from its back catalogue: Houston was years away from her peak selling potential at the time of her death, which sent The Ultimate Collection to the top of the iTunes charts. A move like this may be strategic from a business perspective, but it looks impressively greedy. Given how hard the content industry is pushing to sell the public on the idea that they’re only acting in the best interests of creators in pushing for stronger copyright protections, profiting off a dead artist is decidedly off-message.
- Whitney Houston Album Price Hike Sparks Controversy (kayceeweezy.wordpress.com)
- Sony Apologizes for Whitney Houston iTunes Price Hike (allthingsd.com)
- Sony’s Profiteering Off Whitney Houston’s Death (thinkprogress.org)
- Whitney Houston album price hike sparks controversy (guardian.co.uk)
- Sony raised price of Whitney Houston albums after death (boingboing.net)