Sony raises prices on Whitney Houston's iTunes catalog, media rushes to blame Apple

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Chris Rawson
February 13, 2012 3:40 PM
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.

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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.

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