The following statement can be attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) – formerly the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) – following the passing of internationally renowned musician and technology enthusiast David Bowie:
“On behalf of the technology industry, we mourn the passing of David Bowie. Music fans lost one of their most beloved and creative artists and the tech community lost one of its earliest pioneers – a musical disruptive innovator, who embraced technology and the Internet as platforms for making and distributing art.
“David Bowie was a visionary. At a time when many in the music industry viewed the Internet as a dire threat, Bowie saw it as a powerful tool for creation and community building. Prior to the social media we know today, most artists provided little online material to their followers. In 1996, Bowie became the first major artist to distribute a new song as an Internet-only release. He embraced early file sharing services, foreseeing the transformation of the music industry. He also was one of among the first major artists to ‘cybercast’ a concert.
“In 1998, he created BowieNet, a full internet service provider that competed with AOL, the leading provider at the time. BowieNet was viewed as ‘one of the most groundbreaking reach outs to fans’ and provided exclusive access to audio recordings, music videos and chat rooms, which the singer participated in himself. It was something that was, at the time, completely new to the Internet. Bowie also was a pioneer in developing virtual worlds, using software to help support his songwriting and incorporating technology directly into his music.
“We will miss David Bowie’s music and innovative spirit. Our condolences go out to his family and fans around the world.”