Venture Entered Into with over Fifty Retailers
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 30 - For the first time in the history of the music business, a major recording artist and a leading record company are joining with retail to bring a complete album to music fans via download from the Internet.
On Tuesday, September 21, Virgin Records America and participating retailers will make David Bowie's new album hours... available via download from the Internet. As a special bonus to the web-surfing music fan, an additional new track offered exclusively through the download will be provided. This exciting opportunity is being made available in conjunction with over fifty retailers for a limited two-week period prior to the album's actual North American in-store retail date of October 5.
Announcing the new venture, Virgin Music Group Worldwide vice chairman Nancy Berry said, "David Bowie is one of the most technologically well-informed and culturally progressive artists in the world. It is only natural that he be the first musician to bring his art to his fans in this manner. We are very excited to be part of this development in new music distribution with David and although this process is not necessarily indicative of how Virgin Records America will conduct business in the future, we are excited to be pioneering this approach. Similarly, whilst this download is primarily a US initiative, we are actively considering how best to make these opportunities available to all countries and retailers in the future. We look forward to many other exciting and ground-breaking advances."
Comments David Bowie, "I couldn't be more pleased to have the opportunity of moving the music industry closer to the process of making digital download available as the norm and not the exception. We are all aware that broadband opportunities are not yet available to the overwhelming majority of people, and therefore expect the success of this experiment to be measured in hundreds and not thousands of downloads. However, just as color television broadcasts and film content on home video tapes were required first steps to cause their industries to expand consumer use, I am hopeful that this small step will lead to larger leaps by myself and others ultimately giving consumers greater choices and easier access to the music they enjoy. This can only be of benefit to the consumer."
The music from hours... will be downloadable in the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)-compliant formats Liquid Audio and Microsoft's Windows Media. (SDMI is the global organization of record and technology companies formed to develop a set of guidelines for digital distribution that safeguard original content.). Liquid Audio and Microsoft will both provide technical support to assist cyber savvy music fans with the download process.
Comments Jay Samit, Senior Vice President, New Media, EMI Recorded Music, "While various artists have put singles on the web, this is the first time a full album by a major artist has ever been available via digital download with the participation of retail. It makes perfect sense that such a feat be spearheaded by David Bowie, possibly the most Web savvy of all artists and someone who has always been on the cutting edge of popular culture. We are proud to be working with him in this endeavor, and look forward to learning about consumer behavior with respect to this new distribution channel."
Comments Richard Cottrell, President and CEO, EMI Music Distribution, "We fully respect the role our retailers play in selling our artists' music and, therefore, we are pleased to further support their position by making this exciting initiative only available via their existing websites. By distributing the digital download via the retailer sites we gain, for David Bowie's album, the maximum impact from the power of the retailer brands and their consumer reach."
Already a visionary in the field of the Internet as early as 1983, David Bowie's record-breaking Serious Moonlight tour conducted all worldwide communications through a new process known as electronic mail. By 1988, Bowie had the first artist news group on the Internet. As the Internet evolved to the utilization of the World Wide Web, Bowie pioneered both the earliest music web sites and one of the world's first cybercasts. He broke new ground once again in 1997 with his Internet-only release of the drum-n-bass single Telling Lies.
1998 saw the launch of BowieNet (http://www.davidbowie.com), the world's first artist-created Internet service provider. BowieNet offers uncensored access to the Internet, including news, sports, and finance information, and of course the very best music and entertainment coverage. For Bowie fans, and indeed all music fans, BowieNet provides previously unreleased material, videos, photos and show reviews from all genres of music. It also offers real-time chats and cybercasts (both live and archived) from David himself and a host of other artists. BowieNet was a nominee for the 1999 WIRED Award for Best Entertainment Site of the Year.
David Bowie's forthcoming album hours- is due at traditional retail stores on October 5. The album will be the artist's first to be handled by Virgin Music Group throughout the world, following a new agreement announced in mid-August. For the past several months, David Bowie has been in the studio finishing the new record, which is very song-driven, a hark back to his Hunky Dory days of the early 1970s.
SOURCE Virgin Records America
CO: Virgin Records America; EMI Music Group