updated 08:40 pm EST, Tue February 14, 2012
Changes affected greatest hits compilations in UK
Sony has now issued a formal apology following backlash from fans of Whitney Houston who discovered that the company had raised prices on the UK iTunes Store for compilations of her work just hours after her death. Sony raised prices on Sunday for Houston's The Ultimate Collection, an older compilation from $7.83 (US equivalent) to $12.54, and the price of Whitney: The Greatest Hits from $12.54 to $15.67.
The prices represented hikes of 60 percent and 25 percent respectively, and were taken back to their original levels later that day as protests spread across the web. Anonymous representatives from the company have blamed the increase on an "error" by a UK Sony employee, which explains why the price increases did not migrate to other countries, but did not say if the move had been directed by supervisors or was deliberately intended to capitalize on the late singer's popularity.
Houston died suddenly on Feb. 11th shortly before she was scheduled to appear at a pre-Grammys event, and on the eve of a renewed effort at a full comeback. The full statement from Sony reads "Whitney Houston product was mistakenly mispriced on the UK iTunes store on Sunday. When discovered, the mistake was immediately corrected. We apologize for any offense caused."
A number of Houston's albums and singles are currently riding the top of the iTunes charts and other music outlets around the world as fans express their grief at her sudden passing. A formal cause of death has not yet been announced, but her funeral will take place Saturday at noon in a private ceremony at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. Houston, the daughter of gospel and soul singer Emily "Cissy" Houston, attended and sang at the church as a child.