Who knew David Bowie had a business acumen?
While David Bowie is known for cuts like “Young Americans” and “Heroes” and alter egos like Ziggy Stardust and Major Tom, it looks like we can chalk up another superlative to the illustrious pop star’s career: Business mogul.
Bowie, who died Sunday at the age of 69, left behind an impressive legacy not only in music, but in the business world as well. From social networks that were ahead of their time to the infamous “Bowie Bonds,” here’s a tribute to the entrepreneurial spirit of the Thin White Duke:
He may have foresaw the future of the music business: In a now-famous interview he gave to the New York Times in 2002, Bowie had some prescient words to say about the future of the music industry and where things might end up. He mentions things such as the decline in the importance of labels and that touring would become the primary money making vehicle for artists (both true), but it’s what he says about consuming music that strikes a nerve. While he didn’t coin it, Bowie helped make famous the term “celestial jukebox,” which was his way of describing a hypothetical universal music service that would have everything consumers wanted in one place. Eventually, consumers did finally have something like in the form of, yep, you guessed it: Spotify.,
He started his own social network…in 1998: Just when the internet was in its infancy during the Web 1.0 days, Bowie started his own freaking social network before that was even really a thing. The service, aptly called Bowienet, launched in 1998 and for $19.99 a month customers would get their own personal email address and homepage as well as access to exclusive music and interviews from Bowie himself. While this obviously didn’t take off, you have to tip your cap to the ambition and idea.
He knew a thing or two about finance: David Bowie wasn’t just the “man who sold the world”…he sold bonds, too. During his career, Bowie sold the future royalties to his music for a sum of $55 million. These so-called “Bowie Bonds” didn’t entirely pan out for investors, but it was a glimpse of things to come and isn’t all that different from Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services.
Man, kind of makes you wonder what the guy could’ve done with a merchant cash advance! I kid, I kid…