Sony Music purportedly raised the cost of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits set on iTunes by more than 60% within hours after news of her death.
It’s no business secret that once musicians pass away album sales increase but what’s different in this case is that the actual price of the album increased for many visiting Apple’s iTunes music store abroad.
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 ($7.87 to $12.61 USD.)
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.
Music fans described the move as a cynical attempt to capitalise on Houston’s in-demand greatest hits records. The price hike came as tributes flooded in for the singer, whose catalogue includes hits such as I Wanna Dance With Somebody and I Will Always Love You. Houston was found dead in her Los Angeles hotel room on Saturday afternoon, local time, at the age of 48.
The change happened when Sony Music, which owns the rights to much of Houston’s back catalogue, increased the wholesale price of The Ultimate Collection. This automatically boosted the retail price of the popular album, although Apple is responsible setting the price paid by music fans.
Houston’s Greatest Hits album was #2 on the iTunes Music Store at the time this story was published. Her single ‘I will always love you is #1 in the singles category.