Sony bumped up the price of Whitney Houston MP3 files following the singer's death.
Price gouging claims are usually facepalm-worthy (see the GTM's ice truck story in main paper found in the sidebar). Prices induce a supply side response. In the case of MP3 files, what sort of supply side response is needed?
I can understand a price hike for physical media: the factory needs to press more copies, the copies need to be shipped to retailers and stock personnel need to put the product on shelves (which implies that scarce shelf space is allocated away from competing products). I don't think I know enough about bandwidth limitations to say much about pricing MP3 downloads. My intuition tells me that there is no ex ante allocation justification for an unexpected price hike, but I'm more than willing to be proven wrong. Please let me know in the comments if there is a cost-based economic justification for raising the price of an MP3 download following an (un)expected spike in demand.