Whitney Houston Official Photo 2009 publicity RCA
Patrick Demarchelier

Sony Music, the record label that owns Whitney Houston's catalogue, has come under fire from newspapers and blogs around the UK for raising the price of Houston's greatest hits album on the UK's iTunes Music Store service. iTunes customers in the UK saw the price skyrocket from £4.99 to £7.99 (the equivalent of $7.87 to $12.61) immediately after the singer's death, on Saturday afternoon (UK time), only to fall back to £4.99, on Sunday afternoon, once the outcry reached a fever pitch.

Initially, the price hike was blamed on Apple, but it was later determined that the increase was due to Sony Music lifting its wholesale price for the album and then Apple automatically adjusting the album's price on iTunes. According to "an insider close to the situation," Sony Music raised the price not in a cynical attempt to capitalize on the singer's untimely death, but rather because "the wholesale price of Houston's The Ultimate Collection had been wrong," which they only realized after her death. It's acknowledged that Sony Music reviewed the price of Houston's catalogue only after the singer had been pronounced dead, which makes the "the price was wrong" argument seem, well, even more suspect.