Nobody is excited about hologram tours, and yet someone, somewhere sees money in them. In the past few years, we’ve seen announcements about any number of dead icons touring via hologram: Amy Winehouse, Frank Zappa, Patsy Cline, Ronnie James Dio, a Roy Orbison/Buddy Holly double bill. It’s hard to imagine any of these events without feeling an involuntary shudder pass through your body, and yet they keep being announced. Today, we have another morbid, ghastly hologram tour to consider: The flickering and uncanny visage of Whitney Houston.
Houston died on Grammy night in 2012, at the age of 48. Since her death, there hasn’t exactly been a deluge of Whitney Houston merchandise. (Her biggest posthumous look has been the documentary Whitney, which included allegations that Houston was sexually abused as a child.) But now The New York Times reports that Houston’s estate has a bunch of projects in the works. Whitney’s sister-in-law and manager Pat Houston, the executor of her estate, says, “Everything is about timing for me. It’s been quite emotional for the past seven years. But now it’s about being strategic.” The Houston estate now has a deal with the music and marketing company Primary Wave Music Publishing, which has acquired 50% of the Houston estate’s assets for a reported $14 million.
So now the Houston estate is considering branding deals, a Broadway musical, an album of unreleased tracks, and, yes, a hologram tour. Pat Houston says, “The hologram has taken precedence of everything.” Primary Wave is already developing the hologram tour, which will reportedly have Houston’s hologram backed by her old backing singers and band, including her brother Gary Houston.