David Bowie is known as a performer who changed the worlds of music, art, and fashion. Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer at age 69, just after celebrating his birthday. The world now mourns because an icon was lost at such a young age. However, not many people are aware of how he revolutionized the financial world.
David Bowie took an incredible risk when he invented ‘Bowie Bonds.’ These were the first type of celebrity bond to ever enter the financial world. They are basically securities that are backed by assets. In Bowie’s case, the asset was him. Therefore, the bonds had an annual payment based on the revenue, both current at that time and future, from first 25 albums that David Bowie released. The star was able to accumulate money without waiting for future revenue to hit his bank account.
Bowie Bonds lit a fire under the performing world. Several artists took out celebrity bonds in order to do accumulate even a fraction of the wealth that Bowie had with his bonds. Bowie managed to raise 55 million dollars from future royalties, using this money to buy property, and even to start an internet provider and online bank. David Bowie, however, was not under the impression that celebrity bonds would be relevant for more than a decade. He knew the internet was going to take over the music industry, which would make celebrity bonds irrelevant. Sure enough, by 2007, his Bowie Bonds were liquidated.
Although Bowie Bonds were not around long term, David Bowie still changed the finance industry. The idea that assets backed by revenue that would be accumulated in the future was possible spread across the financial industry. This tactic even spread into the sports sphere, which shows just how influential the idea is. Although some financial experts still think such investments are too risky to be worth it, Bowie was able to make a lot of money.
David Bowie left this world as an innovator. He was always creating something new in a different sphere. With 150 albums under his belt and an incredible music career, it is no wonder he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. However, his lesser-known achievement in the financial industry allowed him to invest in his future, and brought up a whole discussion about an artist’s right to his own music.
His dabbling in finance and small business just shows how much of a creator he really was. He will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, David Bowie.