tom-ingham
21st February 2012

Opinion: Whitney Houston

Should we really be lining the pockets of opportunistic industry types?

Death – the perfect medicine for the dwindling performer.

For a musician, making it big in the charts is a moment to cherish, a time to bask in the recognition of peers and loving fans. However, if an artist really wants to make it big, it seems like the best thing to do is go ahead and kick the bucket. Of course, this isn’t an obligatory measure, but does seem to do the trick and this week’s sad passing of Whitney Houston rather proves the point. With arguably her best days behind her performance wise, Whitney was unlikely to ever storm the charts again.

Without meaning to sound crass, it’s provided a great opportunity for music industry fat cats to capitalize on the media frenzy surrounding her death. iTunes significantly increased the price of her Greatest Hits collection, following the album’s rise to number 2 in both the US and UK iTunes charts. And you can’t really blame them for cashing in on our reactionary, media driven culture. People who only came into contact with Whitney Houston songs at weddings are suddenly inconsolable, and feel the need to ‘pay their respects’.

There have been many famous examples of this, with the deaths of MJ, Amy Winehouse, etc. And is it a bad thing? Well, I think it highlights our need to follow trends, even in something as individualistic as music. It’s understandable for these events to bring revitalised interest to the artist’s career and legacy, but how that correlates with record sales is unclear. We will never get to see these performers do their thing live again, so why rekindle our love for them? The artists in question are all extremely successful – household names across the world- and in death they’re, of course, worthy of the respect and praise they receive. But it doesn’t mean that we should think feel obliged to line the pockets of opportunistic industry types.

Whitney Houston – I Will Always Love You

Tom Ingham

Tom Ingham

Music Editor

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