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  1. #1
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    OneMoreThing...'s Avatar
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    Post Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple

    In a textbook example of a failure to think first and type later, Digital Spy and The Daily Mail both rushed to blame Apple when it became known that prices for Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog were hiked up only a day after the singer's passing. The only apparent source for Digital Spy's take on the story was the emails it received from angry fans, one of whom said, "To say I am angry is an understatement and I feel it is just a case of iTunes cashing in on the singer's death, which in my opinion is totally parasitic."

    UK prices for Houston's 2007 Ultimate Collection rose from £4.99 to £7.99 only a day after the singer's death. Confused and embittered fans, who briefly found themselves unable to download the album while the price changes took effect, were quick to blame iTunes and Apple itself for the price hike.

    Unfortunately, Digital Spy took these angry users at their word without performing even the most perfunctory of research or fact-checking, and The Daily Mail followed suit. If either outlet had inserted a crucial moment of logical analysis between fingers and keyboard, they would have discovered, as The Guardian did, that Apple is not responsible for setting album or catalog pricing on iTunes. Music labels are, and it was in fact Sony who raised prices on Houston's music.

    "Sony Music, which owns the rights to much of Houston's back catalogue, increased the wholesale price of The Ultimate Collection," The Guardian reports. "This automatically boosted the retail price of the popular album, although Apple is responsible setting the price paid by music fans." Sony boosted the wholesale price for Houston's music after discovering it was "wrong," and the rise in wholesale price is directly responsible for the rise in retail price on iTunes.

    Neither Digital Spy nor The Daily Mail have issued corrections or retractions to their stories blaming Apple for the price hike, and they probably won't do so.

    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 13 Feb 2012 15:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.




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  2. #2
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    dtravis7's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
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    I just checked iTunes. Her catalog goes from .69c to $1.29 USD. I take it was .99c before?
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  4. #4
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
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    Dispicable. This is exactly the kind of thing that should get companies fined.
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  5. #5
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
    Dispicable. This is exactly the kind of thing that should get companies fined.
    And I assume that you volunteer to be the one-person panel who gets to determine when it's okay and when it's NOT okay to raise prices?

  6. #6
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
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  7. #7
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    RONE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
    Dispicable. This is exactly the kind of thing that should get companies fined.
    Have you ever taken an economics course? More demand = higher price.

  8. #8
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    XJ-linux's Avatar
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    Sucks that Apple takes a PR hit, but then the iPad3 will come along and people will be about as outraged as they are currently about Anthony Wiener. Free market. Don't like the prices? Wait a month.
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  9. #9
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    Stretch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RONE View Post
    Have you ever taken an economics course? More demand = higher price.
    That only matters if there is a supply. Since this is digital, there is no supply, there is infinite downloads available. This is just Sony being the normal crappy company it is.
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  10. #10
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
    That only matters if there is a supply. Since this is digital, there is no supply, there is infinite downloads available. This is just Sony being the normal crappy company it is.
    Then they ought to give it away once they've "broken even", right?

    Of the four laws of Supply & Demand, one is an increased demand with unchanged supply which yields a higher price. If people WANT it more, then they will PAY more.

    Now I can understand an argument that suggests taking advantage of consumers unnecessarily regarding necessities (e.g.- basic foods/water/etc) could be construed as malicious or 'evil', but seriously, we're talking DOWNLOADABLE MUSIC!

    Just wait a while. It could well be that a year from now after so many have purchased her music during this 'rush', no one will be looking for the music of a washed-out, lifelong drug user whose decisions led to a premature death. You may be able to pick up her stuff for $.69/song.

  11. #11
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    j0nb0y32's Avatar
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    Don't they do this all of the time though, just in a different way. Didn't music companies re-release loads of michael Jackson songs/albums after his death and then rushed to release the album of his ill fated concert rehearsals....

    sad world, but it's materialistic and we live and breath it...

  12. #12
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
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    Quote Originally Posted by indychris View Post
    And I assume that you volunteer to be the one-person panel who gets to determine when it's okay and when it's NOT okay to raise prices?
    Increasing prices to benefit from the death of an artist is entirely unethical. She won't see any of the money will she. It's pure capitalism, and is wrong on a great many levels as far as I'm concerened. They would do better by reducing the prices, but then you could argue that it's being done to generate massive extra business and capitalise.
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  13. #13
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
    Increasing prices to benefit from the death of an artist is entirely unethical. She won't see any of the money will she. It's pure capitalism, and is wrong on a great many levels as far as I'm concerened. They would do better by reducing the prices, but then you could argue that it's being done to generate massive extra business and capitalise.
    Sony owns it, and Whitney didn't write much of it. Whitney was paid already, made money at concerts and movies, and she (her estate) receives a cut when a song is played in perpetuity. Sony can sell their assets for what they want to, whenever they want to. It's their property and there is no moral imperative to provide stuff cheap because people feel some emotional attachment or entitlement.
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  14. #14
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple
    Kevriano's Avatar
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    This I know. It's just unethical to profit from death, that's all.
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  15. #15
    Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
    This I know. It's just unethical to profit from death, that's all.
    So estate attorneys shouldn't get paid?

    How about undertakers?

    Police who direct traffic during funerals?

    How about EMT's who respond to a heart attack call and the patient dies?

    How about hospice nurses?

    Should cemeteries all be 501 (C) (3) orgs with property donated by the 'government'?


    Look, I get what you're saying, but I think the more deeply you dive into that philosophy the harder it becomes to hold onto it consistently. Death is as much a part of life as birth, and while it may seem more 'tragic' to us, there are people who make their living off of ALL aspects of life. How about love? Is it 'ethical' to make a profit off of 'love'?

    I just sent each my mom and my bride of 22 years bouquets of flowers for valentines day. Know what happened? The flowers were the same 'price' on Valentines day as any other day, but there was a $9.99 surcharge for delivery on the 14th. I'm sure it was partially to cover additional staffing costs, but I'm convinced it was also simply an issue of 'Hey, it's valentine's day; we can get more money for this stuff today!' And they were absolutely correct, and while I though 'sheesh!' when I placed the order, I had the option to cancel it and send the flowers next week instead at the 'normal' rate.

    Whitney Houston music isn't an 'essential' for life, and while I would not unnecessarily raise the prices on music just because someone died, also don't really see it as a big issue that Sony did because I always have the option of 1) Simply not buying any more Sony music, 2) Waiting until the prices go back down, or 3) Finding someplace that has physical CD's and ripping the music myself.

    As long as we have the opportunity to say, "No Thanks!", I simply don't see an issue here, though I agree that it does come across as opportunistic and lacking in compassion to me, too.

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