Last Sunday, rock and pop idol David Bowie lost his life to cancer. He was 69. Of the many music and artistic accomplishments he had in his life, one thing this visionary had was the desire to meld music with technology. In the Summer of 1998, he had the idea of creating his own internet service provider (ISP), a subscription-based dial up access to the emerging online world. At a time when plenty of major corporations were trying to comprehend the significance and impact of the World Wide Web, Bowie was there putting his ideas into practice.
By September of that year, BowieNet launched in North America, but later worldwide and became an ISP offering “uncensored” access to the internet through the dedicated David Bowie website. Subscribers could browse a vast archive of Bowie’s photographs, videos and interviews, as well as a blog, his career chronology and news feed. But more, he wanted to create a community where fans could interact with each other and enjoy their common interests including his music. In other words, he was thinking along the same lines as the social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, that would come years later. That community effort is still available on his present website.
By January 2000, after showing live performances and virtual tours of museums and exhibits, he co-launched his own branded online bank known as BowieBanc, which included his image on a credit card and offered customers a free subscription to BowieNet. But by 2006 the Internet was changing and more companies were adopting broadband services, filtering out dial up and Bowie had lost interest, moving on to other ventures.
On a personal note, while I was involved with radio and the Internet in the mid to late 90’s, I was encouraged with the Web because of David Bowie’s activities in BowieNet. What he did was help me realize that I was moving in the right direction of using the mediums of radio, the Internet and email to better connect to my listeners.
Now that he has passed away, portions of his career are shown on his website as a pictionary with links to photos and videos of performances. http://www.davidbowie.com
For additional photos and videos, visit Boston radio WBUR’s webpage devoted to Bowie … https://www.wbur.org/2016/01/11/photos-videos-rock-legend-david-bowie-through-the-years
The BBC posted a page showing his six decades as performer in which his music, theatrics and persona are explored. http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zssmsg8
That’s it this week. Have a great weekend and may God bless you and keep you safe.
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