In the wake of Whitney Houston’s death, some digital music stores hiked up the prices on compilations of the late singer’s work. While that might seem like shameless opportunism, it’s worth remembering that digital music is still much cheaper than previous formats.
The Guardian reports that the price of Houston’s albums in the UK iTunes store rose from £4.99 to £7.99 soon after news of the singer’s unexpected death emerged. The death of a major star invariably leads to people buying their work in online stores — the same phenomenon was very evident with Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse — so it’s hard to see this as anything other than opportunistic. (The lower price was subsequently restored, but by then the online furore had begun)
Similar changes haven’t been seen in the Australian iTunes store. There are two main compilations available — The Ultimate Collection and The Greatest Hits — and both cost $16.99. The latter is a better deal, as it’s a two-disc compilation and includes a number of songs missing from the former. The purist in me would point out that it’s actually the US edition, not the international release Australia got originally in 2000, but I doubt casual buyers will care.
What’s really worth pointing out is that when you’re paying $16.99 to get 36 tracks, you’re really in no position to complain about getting ripped off. Even if it cost $20.99, you’d be getting a good deal.
I bought that album on CD when it first came out, and I would have paid almost double that. More recently, I purchased the DVD version for a rather less wallet-straining $7.99. As ever, I find arguments that music is too expensive these days to be self-serving and not very well-informed.
Whitney Houston album price hike sparks controversy [The Guardian]