Official Press Release / Bowienet
22nd July 1998
David Bowie confirmed rumors of the last several weeks that, beginning September 1, he will launch BowieNet. Located at http://www.davidbowie.com, BowieNet will be the first artist-created Internet Service Provider. The official announcement of the launch was to coincide with the release of EMI Records compilation “The Best Of David Bowie 1974/1979” on August 23. However, the CD, which contains details of the on-line service, was prematurely released by EMI-Canada two weeks ago. This led Canadian fans to search for the service. In response, a “pre-launch” site was posted on the http://www.davidbowie.com home page.
BowieNet will offer high-speed Internet service across North America and, by year end, throughout the world. In addition to full uncensored access to the Internet as well as traditional content (news, sports, finance etc.), davidbowie.com will provide a community of music lovers the best access to music and entertainment content on the Web as well as exclusive content available only through this service.
BowieNet will offer users a fully customizable home page, davidbowie.com e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org), news groups, chat rooms, online shareware, multi-player gaming, and much much more with local access from over 2,000 cities in north America. For Bowie and music fans in general, there will be previously unreleased audio tracks, videos and photos. Thousands of album reviews, concert reviews and music articles along with a wide assortment of content updated daily. BowieNet promises numerous cybercasts (both live and archived) from Bowie as well as other artists.
Each user will be given 5 MB of space and encouraged to create their own web pages. BowieNet will host these pages at no additional charge and ensure their placement on the World Wide Web, giving access to all users of the Internet. The BowieNet will support both Microsoft and Netscape browsers. All users will be given the latest version of Internet Explorer, customized specifically for davidbowie.com.
Users wishing to utilize davidbowie.com as their Internet service provider will pay a fee of $19.95/month. For a limited time the first month’s fee will be waived. For those users wishing to remain with their current provider, access to davidbowie.com can be obtained for a monthly fee of $5.95.
Music fans choosing full internet service will receive a CD-Rom containing the customized browser along with two classic live Bowie audio and video tracks never before released to the public. As a special bonus, there will be an exclusive encrypted newly recorded audio track which will unlock via the Internet.
“I wanted to create an environment where not just my fans but all music lovers could be a part of the same community,” Bowie stated, “a single place where the vast archives of music information could be accessed, views stated and ideas exchanged.” Bowie continued, “Our biggest challenge was to assemble unique proprietary content along with first-rate content suppliers and unparalleled Internet service from tech support to billing. After nine months of work, I believe we have achieved just that.”
To that end, UltraStar Internet Services was created. (UltraStar details below.) Due to the early announcement of BowieNet, UltraStar has set up a hotline number 800-587-STAR (7827) for fans to sign up for Internet service and reserve e-mail addresses. No accounts will be charged until members have received their CD-Roms and the network is officially launched 12:01 A.M. Tuesday September 1.
David Bowie is no newcomer to the Internet. As early as 1983, Bowie tours carried portable computers and handled all communications by e-mail. Bowie was one of the first artists to cybercast a live show over the Web. He has hosted a number of online chats and was the first major artist to post a new song freely downloadable to the public. That song “Telling Lies” had 375,000 downloads in the first two months. Bowie also created and designed bowieart.com, an Internet commerce site featuring prints of artwork by Bowie and others for direct sale the public.
BowieNet will be powered by Concentric Network Corporation. As the leader in high performance secure virtual private network services, Concentric will handle all billing and offers 24 hour-7 days a week customer support. Concentric will supply all dial-up locations in North America and provide availability in 47 countries by the end of 1998. They will also provide web hosting and connections up to T1 speeds. Concentric services some of the world’s largest networks including WebTV and Intuit’s Quicken Financial Network.
General content will be the most extensive on the Internet. Content will range from the most often requested–news, financial, sports and weather to the most personal including horoscopes, lottery numbers and local TV and movie listings. BowieNet will also provide users with the ability to customize their own home page so each user can quickly get just the information they want.
Design will be overseen by Bowie personally in conjunction with Nettmedia. Nettmedia is a new-media development company that specializes in web and enhanced CD design and production for the entertainment industry. Founded in 1995, Nettmedia has grown steadily and has an impressive list of clients including Sarah McLachlan, BMG Entertainment, Lilith Fair, the Wu Tang Clan, EMI Music Canada, The Backstreet Boys, Nettwerk Records, the Barenaked Ladies, and many more.
Exclusive and non-exclusive music content will be supplied from a number of the best sources available. Among these is the Rolling Stone Network. Their vast database along with recently acquired tunes.com as well video-on-demand and their extensive Internet radio network will bring BowieNet users the latest music technology on the Internet.
Long-time Bowie web host N2K’s Music Boulevard Network will supply large amounts of music and entertainment content as well as transactional capabilities. N2K Inc. is a leading online music entertainment company and one of the Internet’s complete resources for music content, community and commerce. The Music Boulevard Network, the company’s online division combines Music Boulevard, the online music superstore and the award-winning music channels: Rocktropolis.com, JazzCentralStation.com and ClassicalInsites.com.
UltraStar is a management technology partnership that specializes in the arena of Internet services, bringing major entertainment, sports and fashion clients to the world in a community-based forum delivered over the Web. UltraStar’s philosophy is to allow users a personal experience with their favorite personalities via the Internet. Never before has there been a gateway where the private and public worlds of famous figures has been opened with the continued support, input and materials of each star.
William Zysblat is co-founder of RZO, a company involved in business management and tour production in music and the performing arts. RZO is one of the preeminent firms in its field, representing artists such as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, David Byrne, Soul Asylum, the Gershwin estates, etc. RZO also promotes tours for groups such as U2. RZO is also a leader in the area of entertainment financing, having been responsible for the recent so-called “Bowie Bonds” involving $55 million in debt financing securitized by the future flow of royalty income from Bowie songs and masters, a first in the entertainment field.
Robert Goodale is an executive producer in music and interactivity, including interactive events and Internet sites for the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and The Cure. Firsts associated with these artists and their Web sites have included the debut sale by a major artist of audio material only over the Internet (5,000 numbered CDs with The Cure); the first artist to make available a single solely over the Internet (David Bowie with over 375,000 downloads in Dec. 96/Jan. 97); the world’s first live rock n roll concert on the Internet (the Rolling Stones November 1994); executive produced four of rock’s top five most trafficked Webcasts in Internet history. Executive produced David Bowie’s CD-ROM (“JUMP”). Executive vice president of Bowie’s management company for six years. Executive producer of various films.
Ron Roy has 15 years of computer/multimedia/Internet experience. Ron has worked with a variety of computer technologies throughout his career including help produce and market some of the industry’s first truly interactive CD-ROM’s– using full-motion video and stereo quality audio–in areas that included sports (Big East Basketball, Reebok International) and training (one of the first interactive CD-ROM’s for Windows 95, which eventually was redesigned to work over the Internet). In the area of Internet/music, Roy is currently the Project Manager for The Cure’s official Web site(www.thecure.com), which holds the distinction of both being a rock Web site where all site design features are produced by the band itself and holds three of the top five all-time listened to Webcasts. Roy was also instrumental in bringing the first Internet-only CD release, Five Swing Live by The Cure, to market.