David Bowie's been a pioneer in many ways when it comes to combining music, technology and marketing. He's had Bowienet, his own ISP, for several years now, and considered opening an online bank a few years back as well. In 1997, he started a trend where musicians would sell bonds that used future royalties as income, and the "Bowie Bond" market rolled along as other artists offered their own bonds. Last year, though, Bowie's original bond's rating was lowered to one step above junk, with a rating service citing weak music sales. Now, with music sales looking up, growth in the download business has Wall Street looking at Bowie Bonds again. Hedge-fund managers are interested in them because they offer an investment not tied to the performance of broader financial markets, and the fund behind the original bond says it's talking to Bob Marley's family to create bonds based on his songs and also owns a number of other copyrights it hopes to monetize. Of course, one interesting aspect to all of this is Bowie's sour outlook on copyright, when it's that intellectual property protection on which the bonds are based: most of their revenue is derived from the mechanical royalties that are defined by law in most of the world.
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