Ah, bandwagons. Who doesn’t love ‘em? Whether you’ve spent the past few weeks convincing your friends that you’ve loved the New York Knicks all along (Seriously, you guys! It’s got nothing to do with Jeremy Lin!) or trying to decide which songs to delete from your iPod to make room for your recently-acquired Etta James tracks, chances are, you’re currently taking what will inevitably become a short ride on a nationally-recognized bandwagon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
What’s wrong is when companies fabricate that pandemonium by attempting to capitalize on the misfortune of others. Following the February 11th death of another beloved diva, that’s precisely what the execs at Sony tried to do. According to Digital Spy, the record company raised the price of Whitney Houston’s Ultimate Collection on iTunes within only half an hour of her death. Venture Beat’s Sean Ludwig explains the probable reason for the sudden inflation:
When a high-profile artist passes away, fans often look to re-experience their music, which causes digital and physical sales to soar.
Makes sense, right? I mean, look at Michael Jackson (Just not directly. That man’s face was like an eclipse). Sales of his discography took a considerable jump – then spun around and grabbed their crotches before exclaiming in unison, “OHHH!” – after his death in 2009. But that raises a question of ethics: If they’re able to anticipate a spike in sales, does that mean a company should raise the price of their product and reap the rewards just because we’re all too afraid of being the guy thinking, “Why, oh why did I pirate all that music?!” as we’re coerced into a rather unpleasant game of grab-ass with our cellmate down at the federal penitentiary? It seems like a rather effective way to degrade loyalty among customers, if you ask me. But then, what do I know? I don’t even listen to Whitney Houston. I tend to find the music made by “former” crack addicts who overdose on prescription pills then down in the bathtub to be a bit pitchy.