Accusations of Price Gouging by iTunes/Sony Upon Whitney Houston’s Death

I never had the need to look up Whitney Houston on iTunes, so I can only go by the rumours that I’ve heard since Saturday night.  

Houston was declared dead by 4pm PST on Saturday.  According to Digital Spy, the price of Houston albums went up dramatically almost immediately.

In the space of 30 minutes, Houston’s Ultimate Collection from 2007 shot up from £4.99 to £7.99 on the British iTunes store, a 60% increase.  If that’s true, that’s colder than Whitney’s body would have been at the time.

No one is sure who is responsible for the price increase but that’s pretty damned cynical, even for the record industry.  I mean, jacking up the price within 30 freakin’ minutes?

Still, we’re going to see a huge surge in sales for Houston this week.  According to some sales charts I’ve seen from various territories, that Ultimate Collection album is in the top three, price hike or not.

I doubt if the sales swell for Houston’s catague will be as massive as what we saw after Michael Jackson’s death, but it’ll be gigantic.  Death can be very, very good not only to the performer’s estate but by the recording industry people whose bonuses are based on sales.  I’ll have figures for you as soon as I can get them.




Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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