Whitney Houston’s Album Sales Surge: Who Benefits From Her Death?
Unfortunately for Whitney's family, she didn't take part in writing any of her songs.
Fans of Whitney Houston opened their wallets to express their sadness over the 48-year-old's sudden death last Saturday at the Beverly Hills Hilton. "Whitney: The Greatest Hits" album sold 64,000 copies in just 24 hours after news of Houston's death became viral, and more than 101,000 Houston albums have been purchased in the past week. Of the 101,000 albums sold, 91,000 were downloads. That record surpasses Houston's combined album sales of 97,000 for 2011 and 2012 (Jan. 1 to Feb. 10), according to Billboard. The "Greatest Hits" album moved into the Billboard 200 chart, taking the No. 6 spot for the week ending Feb. 12. Sales of the "Greatest Hits" album jumped 10,419 percent in the past week and could climb even higher when the current tracking week ends.
Zack O'Malley Greenburg, a staff writer at Forbes, says Houston "stands to gain potentially tens of millions of dollars from...artist royalties." In an interview with Jeff Macke on The Daily Ticker, O'Malley Greenburg explains that because Houston does not have writing credits for any of her songs, she will not share in the publishing royalties, therefore limiting the amount of money her estate can reap over the years. Whether or not Houston's estate can continue to profit from Houston's international stardom depends on who manages her estate, according to O'Malley Greenburg. Michael Jackson, who died on June 25, 2009, continues to bring in millions of dollars every year, partly because of his 50 percent stake in the Sony/ATV publishing catalog. The estate's managers have actively pursued projects that capitalize on Jackson's talents, including a collaboration with Cirque Du Soleil. Houston's estate will collect artist royalty fees, mostly from overseas sales and radio spins, which O'Malley Greenburg estimates at $1.50 per album.
Like Jackson, Houston's financial struggles were well documented and the boom in her artist royalties will likely go toward paying off her debts