'Blackstar' sales soar as Bowie's musical and financial legacy endures
By Piya Sinha-Roy, Guy Faulconbridge and Marie-Louise Gumuchian
LOS ANGELES/LONDON (Reuters) - 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.
Streaming giant Spotify said streams of Bowie's music were up 2,700 percent on Monday, while the Official Charts Company in the UK said Bowie's "Blackstar" album was headed to the top spot on the charts with sales of 43,000 since its Friday release.
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.
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.
The model, constructed by investor David Pullman, was later adopted by artists such as James Brown and the Isley Brothers.
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." Continued...