Whitney Houston Sales Skyrocket, Sony Hikes Prices In UK And Then Apologizes
In recent years, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse's deaths sparked an immediate and drastic uptick in their record sales. Now Whitney Houston's passing has had a similar effect on her music.
On Amazon, 7 of the top 10 albums are Houston's -- her greatest hits collection, "The Bodyguard" and "Preacher's Wife" soundtracks among them -- and 20 of the top 100 iTunes song downloads belong to Houston tracks as well.
On the Billboard charts, 6 of Houston's albums cracked the Top 200, and her "Greatest Hits" collection broke into the Top 10. Billboard reported that 101,000 Houston albums were purchased in the last week, more than were sold in all of 2011 and 2012 combined. Insiders expect Houston's music to surge on the charts even more next week.
Since album sales in the wake of an artist's death always tend to increase, Sony came under fire for raising prices on Houston's music in the UK last weekend. Fans were up in arms over a sudden iTunes price hike of two Houston albums, which Sony is now saying was a "mistake."
“Whitney Houston product was mistakenly mispriced on the U.K. iTunes store on Sunday,” The New York Times reported a statement by Sony as saying. “When discovered, the mistake was immediately corrected. We apologize for any offense caused.”
The price hikes occurred on Sunday, the day after her death was reported, when Houston's "The Ultimate Collection" was raised 60 percent, from $7.85 to about $12.50, and her "Greatest Hits" rose from $12.50 to $15.67.
The Times spoke with Sony executives who asked to remain anonymous, but chalked the mistake up to a "Sony employee in Britain" who made the error without their consent.
When Twitter users learned of the price hike, many called for a "Boycott" of Sony.
Houston's private funeral will be held this Saturday at her childhood church in Newark, New Jersey.