It's an old truism in painting that an artist's death is often the best thing that can happen to the value of their work. But never before have we seen that principle so shamelessly applied in real time as we did this weekend.
Heartbroken British fans aiming to purchase music by the late Whitney Houston got a nasty surprise on Sunday, as the price for downloading the singer's greatest hits jumped 60% in the hours after her death. From the Daily Mail:
Whitney Houston fans have accused Apple of exploiting the late singer's death by increasing the cost of her in-demand albums on iTunes.This would be a shocking and reprehensible cash-in on Apple's part, except for one thing: Apple doesn't set the prices in the iTunes store. Record companies do. So instead it's a shocking and reprehensible cash-in on the part of whoever controls the European rights to Houston's catalog.
Her Ultimate Collection album, released in 2007, has increased by £3 ($4.70) to £7.99 ($12.60), according to Digital Spy.
[...] Users reportedly complained they were unable to download the Ultimate Collection while it was given the new price.
If these record companies don't watch out, they're going to start getting a bad reputation.