After scouring over hundreds of record-albums at the D.C. record fair on Sunday, I saw a flash of a familiar face as I thumbed through a box of pop albums — the late, great Whitney Houston. Her second album, in it’s original packaging, for only $10 lied in my eager hands. The sales girl and I exchanged a glance, she shrugged her shoulders and I bought the vinyl for the price as-marked. Unlike this kind individual, most other music sellers are cashing-in on the death of Whitney.
Within minutes of the news of Houston’s death, the internet was ablaze with memorial tweets, tumbl’d photos and….a jack in album prices? According to The Next Web, a half-hour after her death became public, the price of Houston’s Ultimate Collection album on the UK version of iTunes raised from £4.99 to £7.99.
I can’t say I’m surprised. Celebrity deaths tend to dominate news media, album-sale charts and water-cooler conversation for weeks. In an ironic stroke of marketing luck, Houston’s death occurred the day before the Grammy Awards, on-air last night. I did not watch the Grammys. However, I almost feel as though I did because I read my twitter feed during the event. Adele cleaned up, Bon Iver won “Best New Artist” (though his debut album was four years ago), Skrillix and Chris Brown violently murdered music and Jennifer Hudson performed a tasteful tribute to Whitney. Did I miss anything?
Whitney’s death is sure to be on our radar for a while. In the end, her enormous voice and legend will far out-live the controversy surrounding her death— and I will make a killing off of re-selling that vinyl.
EDIT: The Vinyl District caught a picture of me before I made my Whitney purchase:
Photo by: Taylor Welch