As David Bowie's 'Blackstar' Album Sales Soar, Late Legend Is Also Remembered as a Financial Innovator

The singer's estimated worth is upward of $100 million thanks to his innovative business plan

Photo: Georges DeKeerle/Getty

David Bowie had a long and legendary career, but since his passing on Monday, his music is selling better than ever.

The late rocker’s death has pushed sales of his new album Blackstar to the No. 1 spot on iTunes and it’s also expected to become the first No. 1 album of his career in the U.S. on the Billboard chart.

And it’s not just the new stuff fans are clamoring for. They can’t get enough of his back catalog either. In addition to Blackstar, which was released on Jan. 8, just two days before Bowie’s death, three other Bowie albums occupy the top 10 list on iTunes. Best of Bowie, released in 2002, currently sits at No. 2, while 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders occupies the No. 5 spot and 1971’s Hunky Dory is at No. 7.

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The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer’s previous highest Billboard charting album was his preceding release The Next Day, which hit No. 2 in 2013. Next up is , which reached No. 3 in 1976.

As for his singles, the trendsetting singer had two No. 1s with “Let’s Dance” in 1983 and “Fame,” featuring John Lennon, in 1975.

Streams of Bowie’s songs on Spotify are also up, having jumped 2,822 percent globally as of Monday, according to the music service.

But in addition to his music genius, the singer is also considered to be an innovator in the world of music business as well.

He was the first recording artist to sell bonds – known as Bowie Bonds – against his intellectual property by packaging his future royalties into a security that could be bought and sold by investors.

He then used the bonds, which were bought by Prudential Insurance in 1997 for $55 million and are now paid off, to obtain full ownership of his catalog of work.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, investor David Pullman, who came up with the business model, estimated that Bowie’s estate could be valued upward of $100 million since he owned 100 percent of his music.

“He was smart enough to have confidence in himself,” Pullman said. “Most artists sell themselves short, and they don’t hold out for the rights. He was able to retain his legacy. His songs were his baby.”

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