The artist who predicted the future: David Bowie, is remembered with an NFT collection

Galaxisxyz
4 min readMay 8, 2023

The singer, who died in 2016, would love the NFT world. Some 40 years after the release of Let’s Dance, his huge fanbase, which still exists today, was treated to a previously unreleased song on 14 April.

The sensation of the month was that Gala Music, partnering with music producer Larry Dvoskin and label Warner-Chappell Music, released a limited edition NFT set giving fans access to a never-before-heard version of Bowie’s 1983 hit Let’s Dance.

The collection contains 3,003 NFTs and promises to interest those who still love David Bowie’s work today. NFTs are sold on a “pay what you want” model; all proceeds from sales support the MusiCares charity, which provides health and human services to the music community.

This is not the first attempt to appease the musician’s fans. In September 2022, Bowie’s Legacy launched an NFT series called “Bowie on the Blockchain” in partnership with the OpenSea marketplace. This collection, which was also sold for charity, received a significant backlash from Bowie fans, who criticized it for not being in line with the late artist’s ethos and values.

Bowie, the multi-talented artist

As a musician, David Bowie also amassed an impressive discography, including 27 studio albums, 11 live albums, four soundtracks, and 128 singles. It’s worth knowing that he was seriously concerned with the future, with technology.

Bowie became a defining figure in pop culture throughout his half-century career. He also acted in films and was a massive influence on the fashion trends of the time. It is no coincidence that a fascinating HBO documentary was made about his life just a year after his death.

David Bowie (originally David Robert Jones) had been a presence in the pop world since the second half of the 1960s, but his first real breakthrough success was the 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. From then on, David became a transformational artist, an icon stretching across artistic disciplines.

David and the technology

He gave his all, and the masses of fans loved everything he did. Few people know that Bowie was not just an artist but a visionary with serious technological ideas. He used a lot of innovative technology in his work; he was also an internet entrepreneur with a start-up worth hundreds of millions of dollars during the dotcom boom. Some of these only came to fruition today. One of them, for example, is the ancestor of NFT technology.

Bowie created something in 1997 that was truly innovative at the time. He set up Bowie Bonds, which allowed him to sell the future proceeds of his catalogue. It was the earliest experiment in crowdfunding.

As a result, he became his own technology venture capitalist. By reselling and reinvesting himself, he generated enough cash to launch an Internet service provider called BowieNet in September 1998, when less than half of Americans were using the Internet. The company was a true internet pioneer in both America and the UK. Although BowieNet closed in 2012, the artist continued his experiments.

He launched an internet radio station with Bowie DJ and experimented with encrypted music and video files to prevent piracy. He also tried live streaming of concerts, which, even today, is still a challenge for operators.

Today, we would say he created a multiverse called “BowieWorld,” where users could interact with each other using 3D avatars.

In 2002, he told the New York Times: “The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within ten years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it … I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing … Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity.”

At the time, it was almost heretical to think that music could be sold in any way other than on records, CDs, or cassettes. Nobody thought that blockchain and decentralized networks would completely transform the music world.

Bowie is still a significant influence on our world today, having dreamed up many technologies that are now in everyday use. He would probably still be among the greatest experimenters today, so it’s no surprise that on the 40th anniversary, an NFT collection commemorates the brilliant artist and technological genius.

In many ways, Galaxis.xyz follows in Bowie’s footsteps. In many ways, the world of DAOs and multiverses realizes the freedom he envisioned at the dawn of the internet age. And in terms of community building and musical legacy, it’s no coincidence that we still greatly respect his life’s work and pioneering ideas.

Written by Tamas Peter Turcsan

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