David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ sales soar as musical and financial legacy endures

“Sales of David Bowie’s last album – released two days before his death from cancer – soared on Monday along with downloads of his greatest hits, testimony to the powerful appeal of a pioneer in pop culture and the music business,” Piya Sinha-Roy, Guy Faulconbridge and Marie-Louise Gumuchian report for Reuters. “Bowie, who produced hits such as ‘Ziggy Stardust’ during a career featuring daringly androgynous displays of sexuality and glittering costumes, died at age 69 on Sunday.”

“He was the first recording artist to sell bonds, known as ‘Bowie Bonds,’ against his intellectual property and backed by future earnings of his music,” Sinha-Roy, Faulconbridge and Gumuchian report. “The bonds, which are now paid off, were bought by Prudential Insurance in 1997 for $55 million, and let Bowie retain ownership of his work rather than selling the copyright.”

David Bowie
David Bowie
“The model, constructed by investor David Pullman, was later adopted by artists such as James Brown and the Isley Brothers,” Sinha-Roy, Faulconbridge and Gumuchian report. “In an interview on Monday, Pullman estimated that Bowie’s estate could be valued upward of $100 million, in part because Bowie owned 100 percent of his music. ‘He was smart enough to have confidence in himself. Most artists sell themselves short, and they don’t hold out for the rights,’ Pullman said. ‘He was able to retain his legacy. His songs were his baby.’ The move also spared Bowie taxes he would have faced had he sold the rights, Pullman said.”

“The critically praised ‘Blackstar’ was the top-selling album on Apple’s iTunes U.S. and UK platforms on Monday morning. Bowie’s longtime producer, Tony Visconti, called the album the singer’s ‘parting gift,’ Sinha-Roy, Faulconbridge and Gumuchian report. “The 2002 ‘Best of Bowie’ compilation album was the second most popular on the U.S. site, outpacing Adele’s blockbuster album ’25.’ Bowie’s 1972 album ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ was in fourth place on the U.S. iTunes platform, according to the site.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: R.I.P., Bowie.

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  1. If you can find it, Showtime’s “David Bowie – Five Years” is a terrific documentary that covers David Bowie’s life across several of his creative eras. Well worth a watch. It’ll make you miss Bowie even more. The highlights for me we’re seeing interviews with Brian Eno and Robert Fripp discussing their collaborations with Bowie.

  2. I was a pretty big fan of ‘Screwy’ Bowie (as my dad called him) from 74-84 and still listen to his old stuff on occasion.

    I even had this poster in junior high as one of my select few allowed.

    Sunday evening I was looking through Tidal and saw Blackstar. For some unreal reason decided to listen, noticing a slight Radiohead feel to it.

    At 1:55 am after that, I got a text from a musician buddy that Bowie was dead. That was a surreal moment to say the least.

    His boost to SRV was another great contribution.
    Maybe the unedited ‘China Girl’ will start getting more airplay.

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