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Apple accused of cashing in on Whitney Houston death [Update]

As news of Whitney Houston’s death spread like wildfire over social media, at least one big tech player has been accused of trying to cash in.

A number of the singer’s fans say that Apple increased the price of Houston’s albums for download on iTunes, just hours after death was first reported.

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According to Digital Spy, the price of Houston’s greatest hits album Ultimate Collection rose from GBP3(US$4.7) to GBP7.99(US$12.6) in the space of 30 minutes.

The UK news site also reports that iTunes users were blocked from downloading the LP at its original price for the duration of the update.

Speaking to Digital Spy, one user claimed to have spent two hours trying to purchase the album at its original price, adding that “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”.

This is not the first time a tech giant has faced criticism for attempting to cash in on a celebrity’s death.

When British singer Amy Winehouse died in July 2011, Microsoft was widely criticised for sending out a tweet asking people to remember the singer “by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune” (its entertainment marketplace).

Houston’s death continues to trend globally on Twitter. The best-selling singer was honoured by Oscar-winning performer Jennifer Hudson at last night’s Grammy Awards.

Update: While the world was blaming Apple, it turns that Houston’s record label Sony should have been the company in their sights. According to TheNextWeb, Sony Music increased the wholesale price of Houston’s Ultimate Collection. Speaking to the Guardian, a representative from the record label admitted that it increased the price, which “automatically boosted the retail price of the popular album”

The newspaper claims, however, that it Apple must take some portion of the blame as it “is responsible setting the price paid by music fans.”

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