With a musical legacy that leaves behind films, hit songs, and over 200 million album sales, the Whitney Houston estate stands to earn a substantial income now that the singer has died prematurely at the age of 48. Within 24 hours of her death, her best-selling song “I Will Always Love You” once again became a bestseller, reaching the top spot on iTunes list of best-selling singles.
It should be no surprise that an artist’s death can spur an increase in sales by fans. When Michael Jackson died in 2009, his estate received a massive increase in revenue. Even in 2011, it continued to generate more than $170 million in new sales as people continue to purchase his films, music videos and of course, his music.
Though Ms. Houston had not been as popular in the last 10 years or so, she may still leave behind a legacy of continued success for decades, as have other artists such as John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and Marilyn Monroe. How much of an impact her death will have on her estate and her continued album sales stands to be seen, though the details of her finances will become public in the weeks and months ahead. Though some industry insiders say that Ms. Houston left behind some considerable debt and may not have had a large estate, whatever she left behind stands to grow substantially as her fans continue to buy her music.