Sony has apologized for a price hike on two of deceased pop singer Whitney Houston's albums on iTunes in the hours after her death on Saturday, calling the price hike a "mistake," the New York Times reports.
“Whitney Houston product was mistakenly mispriced on the U.K. iTunes store on Sunday,” a statement issued by Sony reads. “When discovered, the mistake was immediately corrected. We apologize for any offense caused.”
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The jump in cost occurred early on Sunday on the British version of iTunes, and the hikes were considerable — the Houston compilation "The Ultimate Collection" soared 60 percent, from $7.85 to approximately $12.50, while another collection, "The Greatest Hits," jumped 25 percent, from approximately $12.50 to $15.67.
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The hike was reversed later on Sunday, but not before some people questioned whether Sony was attempting to financially exploit Houston's demise.
Sony executives who chose to remain anonymous told the Times that the price hike was due to an error by a British Sony employee, and was not authorized by the company.
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Since Houston's death on Saturday at the age of 48, her music has enjoyed a predictable surge in popularity, with her signature song "I Will Always Love You" sitting comfortably at the top of the iTunes songs chart this week. Her music has also dominated the Amazon best-sellers list, with Houston titles occupying seven of the top 10 music slots as of this writing.
Sony Music Entertainment — for which Houston recorded under its subsidiary Arista Records — issued a statement following Houston's death calling her "an icon and a once-in-a-lifetime talent who inspired a generation of singers and brought joy to millions of fans around the world.
"She also was an important member of the Sony Music family who spent her storied recording career with Arista Records. She will be greatly missed. Our deepest condolences go out to her daughter and her entire family,” Sony added.
Houston died on Feb. 11, after being found submerged in the bathtub of her Beverly Hilton hotel suit by a personal staff member. Small amounts of prescription drugs, including Xanax, were found in the suite, but an official cause of death has not yet been released, and the results of a toxicology test might not be available for weeks.
The singer's funeral will take place Saturday at noon at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, N.J., which she attended as a child. Related Articles: Bill O'Reilly: Whitney Houston An 'Addict,' 'Wanted to Kill Herself' (Video) Whitney Houston and Osama Bin Laden: The Little-Known Connection