Label's hiking up of wholesale value automatically boosted iTunes store prices

Sony Music are facing criticism for increasing the price of a Whitney Houston album on Apple’s iTunes Store hours after the singer’s death.

NME.COM understands that Sony, which own the rights to Houston’s back catalogue, increased the wholesale price of her compilation LP The Ultimate Collection, leading to complaints on Twitter.

Labour MP Chris Bryant used his Twitter account to weigh in on the debate, writing: “Pretty despicable of Sony to increase the cost of Whitney Houston album by 60% just hours after her death.” Franz Ferdinand singer Alex Kapranos, meanwhile, sarcastically commented “Ah. They never disappoint” in reference to Sony’s decision to hike up the price.

Retail prices on the iTunes store are set by Apple but are based on a fixed percentage mark-up from the wholesale price, meaning that the cost of the album automatically went up from £4.99 to £7.99. Apple have now restored the price of the album to its original retail value, although neither Apple or Sony were available to comment on the controversy.

Yesterday (February 12), the Official Charts Company revealed that they were expecting a huge surge in popularity in Houston’s records in both the Official UK Singles and Albums charts.

Houston passed away on Saturday (February 11) at the age of 48 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, with reports earlier this morning (February 13), suggesting that her death was allegedly caused by an overdose of prescription drugs. Rumours had originally circulated that the singer had drowned after her body was found in a bathtub, but family sources’ have said that Houston died as a result of an overdose of Xanax and other prescription drugs mixed with alcohol.

Rihanna, Aretha Franklin and Jennifer Hudson are amongst the artists who have publically paid tribute to Houston. Hudson performed a public tribute to the singer at last night’s Grammy Awards, singing Houston’s most famous hit ‘I Will Always Love You’. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click to watch the performance.

Whitney Houston, 1963-2012 – obituary

Whitney Houston’s life in photos

Whitney Houston – ten best songs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzMsEvUxFc4