The Twitter account of Microsoft’s Xbox (@tweetbox360 ) tweeted “Remember Amy Winehouse by downloading the ground-breaking ‘Back to Black’ over at Zune,” and stirred a lot of negative reactions.
Ranging from sarcastic advice to “stay classy” to being called a “contender for stupidest tweet of the day”, the tweet has forced Microsoft to issue an apology. “Apologies to everyone if our earlier Amy Winehouse ‘download’ tweet seemed purely commercially motivated. Far from the case, we assure you.”
Despite the publication of the apology, people on twitter are still ranting against Microsoft’s faux pas and drawing venom from the 27 year old songstress’ fans. There is no count as to how many have tweeted negative reactions to Microsoft’s download suggestion but it’s a safe enough guess that the inappropriate suggestion to buy a Winehouse album will be remembered by many.
The death of popular music icons and artists often drive up the sales of their work as fans and collectors buy up albums. There might be a premium for actual memorabilia connected with Winehouse’s performances and life, but these may only be worth a fraction of memorabilia associated with artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendriz, or Curt Cobain.
Certainly, Microsoft’s Xbox tweet will be regarded as yet another cautionary tale of how NOT to use Twitter to profit over someone’s death and perhaps the best way for Microsoft to show it’s remorse will be to donate a painfully large portion of its download sales to organizations who help people deal with substance abuse — something that was widely associated with Winehouse’s persona.
There’s time enough after the death of an artist for “tributes” and “fund raising” charities. With the death of Winehouse being so recent, shocking, and still unexplained, it would be best to lay off any move that would interrupt people who are mourning her death. That, after all, is the more human thing to do.
Paul Farol is a Filipino writer and blogger currently based in Manila. He is currently a media practitioner and is involved in community development projects in Northern and Southern Luzon, Philippines.