Monday, July 25, 2011

Cashing in on Amy Winehouse's death: unseemly behavior by online retailers?

Matthew Linder writes in The Atlantic about the moves by iTunes and Amazon to increase sales of Amy Winehouse's albums in light of her recent passing. The author takes a nuanced view of their actions, arguing, for instance, that iTunes is "instantly connecting Winehouse fans to her music at a time when it is perhaps most emotionally poignant to listen." He also notes, though, that Amazon's link stating "Read more about Amy Winehouse" simply leads to a page from which to purchase her music.

It is this latter point that bothers me. It is not unseemly to respond to what is surely to be an increase in demand for a recently-deceased, star artist's music. But it is definitely unseemly to engage in deception. There was no need for Amazon or iTunes to be sneaky; mourning Winehouse fans who are visiting the Amazon or iTunes sites are probably likely candidates to make purchases anyway.

Capital offenses? No. Tacky? Absolutely.

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