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As much criticism as record labels receive for how they treat artists, Sony Music might take the cake. The company pulled the ultimate in shameful activities this weekend by raising the price on Whitney Houston’s Ultimate Collection album on iTunes and Amazon within 30 minutes of her death on Saturday.
Music mega-star Whitney Houston died on Saturday at the age of 48. And when a high-profile artist passes away, fans often look to re-experience their music, which causesdigital and physical sales soar. Most recently, Michael Jackson’s catalog considerably jumped on the charts after his death.
But instead of reverence in the wake of Houston’s passing, Sony chose to raise the price of one of her most popular hits collections. The Ultimate Collection album in the U.K. jumped in price by more than 60 percent from £4.99 to £7.99 within 30 minutes of Houston’s death, according to Digital Spy. The album price fell back down to £4.99 some time during the weekend, but it’s unclear when it happened.
Fans originally blamed Apple for the price hike on iTunes, but The Guardian is reporting that Apple automatically raised the price after Sony Music “lifted the wholesale price” of the album.
Houston’s Ultimate Collection was originally released in 2007 and was the second top-selling album on iTunes on Monday morning in the U.K., according to The Guardian. In the U.S., Houston’s 2000 Greatest Hits collection is currently sitting in the number two slot on iTunes album sales chart, while Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” her most popular song ever, is currently sitting at the number one position for individual song sales.
Houston’s catalog is expected to dominate the music charts during the next week, according to the Official Charts Company.
Sony Music and Apple did not immediately respond to queries about the price hike.