Dead Celebrities and the Profit Motive: An Ethics Primer – Businessweek
When a beloved pop diva like Whitney Houston dies, when is it fair game for a Sony or a Warner Bros. to protect their investments in her music and film catalogs? In cold business terms, the first year of a celebrity’s death can be a sales bonanza if managed right. What’s the wrong way? Well, Sony Music’s decision to hike the prices of two Houston compilations—The Ultimate Collection and The Greatest Hits—on the U.K. iTunes site just hours after the singer died on Feb. 4 set off a firestorm on Twitter and Facebook. Sony quickly reversed course and issued an apology. On Feb. 21 an erroneous blog post reporting Warner Bros. had pulled Netflix’s streaming rights to Houston’s 1992 movie The Bodyguard in order to steer mourning fans to the more expensive DVD version also lit up the Web. (Warner Bros. is releasing a new Blu-ray version of the movie on March 27.) Turns out managing dead celebrities is a tricky business.
New York University professor Samuel Craig, deputy chair of the Stern School of Business’s marketing department, says it is perfectly legitimate for entertainment companies to do everything possible to extend their catalogs’ revenue stream. Such is the way of high-speed American capitalism.
Strange Random Fame Quote:
“What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little.”
Lord Byron (English Romantic poet and satirist, 1788-1824)
- 11 Top-Earning Dead Celebrities (abcnews.go.com)
- Grieving Over Dead Celebrities (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Whitney Houston Dead: Celebrities Tweet Condolences (celebs.gather.com)
- Whitney Houston ::: The Dead Celebrity True or False Quiz! (dave-lucas.blogspot.com)
- The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen by Frank DeCaro… (mybookaddictionreviews.wordpress.com)
- Rock Stars Aren’t More Likely To Drop Dead At 27 [Celebrity] (jezebel.com)
- Grieving for dead celebrities (professorbainbridge.com)
- Cooking It Up With The Dead Celebrity Cookbook (filmlookmedia.wordpress.com)
- Dionne Warwick & Cissy Houston Spoke To Whitney Moments Before Her Death (hellobeautiful.com)
Posted on February 23, 2012, in Article and tagged Bodyguard, Houston, iTunes, Lord Byron, New York University, New York University Stern School of Business, Sony, Sony Music Entertainment, Twitter, Warner Bros, Whitney Houston. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.