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How David Bowie and Prince Invented Streaming Music

David Bowie was deep into the Internet by the end of the 90s. Prince dove in shortly after the turn of the millennium. Taken together, you can almost make the argument that they both invented the concept of streaming music services. From TechCrunch:

For five years, NPGMC (named after Prince’s backing band the New Power Generation) offered a monthly or annual membership that not only let fans get new releases, but also provided access to prime concert seats and passes for events like sound checks and after parties.

Perhaps most importantly, the site provided a place for his dearly beloved fans to gather, “to get through this thing called life” amidst a supportive community of like-minded Prince devotees.

As with most things, Prince nailed the subscription business model: NPGMC didn’t just send out invoices once a month as a mere conduit for recurring revenue. It was built on a foundation of meaningful relationships, which were carefully and respectfully cultivated.


The late, great David Bowie predicted the future of music back in 2002: “Music itself is going to become like running water, or electricity.” Prince recognized the same thing. In getting their music directly to their fans through digital subscription clubs, both of them looked way beyond CD sales in order to create direct relationships and connections.

Read the entire article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37434 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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