Tag Archives: David Bowie

Bowie Bonds

Musician David Bowie died today after a long battle with cancer. A very successful rock musician, between the 1960’s-1990’s, he gained more financial fame in 1997 with the issue of what became known as Bowie Bonds, and Investorpedia has a nice summary about them.

  • Definition: An asset-backed security;which uses the current and future revenue from albums recorded by musician David Bowie as collateral. The 25 albums a Bowie bond uses as their underlying assets were recorded prior to 1990. David Bowie used the proceeds from the bond sale to purchase old recordings of his music. In creating the bonds, he ultimately forfeited royalties for the life of the bond (10 years).
  • Bowie bonds, issued in 1997, had an interest rate of 7.9% and a life of 10 years. The Bowie bonds were purchased by Prudential Insurance for $55 million.
  • Bowie bonds represented one of the first instances of a bond that used intellectual property as the underlying collateral. The value of the bonds began to decline as online music and file sharing grew in popularity, decreasing album sales. This resulted in a downgrade by Moody’s in 2004. However, the advent of legal online music retailers renewed interest in these securities in the latter part of the decade.

Other musicians and artistes attempted to structure variants of the Bowie bond including Madonna, Michael Jackson,  Bob Dylan, the Motown songwriting team, and even photographer Annie Leibovitz.