January 8th, 2013
04:08 PM GMT
London (CNN) - Remember Bowie Bonds?
I barely remembered that David Bowie was one of, if not the first, celebrity to securitize his intellectual property to raise cash, through bonds.
In Bowie’s case, he and Prudential Insurance raised funds (Wikipedia says $55 million) in 1997, giving investors interest based on revenue from his catalogue from the 1960s through 2000.
Did it work? It’s hard to say given the story seemed to fizzle out, though it’s fair to say other names have used bonds in a similar manner since then.
Bowie has always been a clever businessman.
Remember he was a folk singer, and got nowhere.
Then, he met his wife who helped rebrand him in the early 1970s during the glam rock era. Elton John, the late Marc Bolan, and Bowie set – or cashed in on – the trend.
Add that to catchy tunes and a unique voice and Bowie has sold more than 130 million albums, according to his website.
But where has he been? His last album was "Reality" in 2003 and he hasn’t been seen since that album’s troubled tour.
Tweets have shown that some people assumed he had retired, or was sick - or you could have wondered if he had been releasing songs and no one noticed. (Never! I hear Bowie fans shouting).
His website says this new song released on his birthday is a “treasure to appear as if out of nowhere.” He also makes clear this isn’t about money, but that Bowie has “something to say as opposed to something to sell.”
Let’s see how many downloads take place on iTunes and how many presales there are for the album “The Next Day” before we judge whether Bowie has made a good decision to come back after 10 years.
Some tweets have not been kind about his voice. But as one music executive told me, it was never about his vocal range - Bowie is a multimedia artist who has been very success for a number of generations.
A new generation awaits. They may just rediscover the back catalogue of 23 studio albums without caring a bit about the bonds once tied to many of them.
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