The video for David Bowie's "Lazarus," his last single, is now being heralded as a visionary piece. Bowie knew he was nearing the end of his life and he created a work of art to serve alongside his intense catalogue. But its prescience isn't the first time that Bowie knew what would happen in the future.
He's not just a visionary artist, Bowie knew things that others didn't. Here's a brief history of those times.
When asked about the influence of electronic beats on his music, Bowie said, "The future is not only going to be about hard-edged people with metal faces. There will be broken hearts in the future."
2. He knew in 2002 that touring would be the only way that artists could make substantial money in the future.
(Bowie could not have predicted Adele—the only true exception to the rule.)
"The internet carries the flag for the subversive, possibly rebellious, and chaotic nihlistic—forget about the Microsoft element, the monopolies do not have a monopoly," he said.
Bowie helped create 1999's Omikron: The Nomad Soul, a game for Sega's Dreamcast. NY Mag has a thorough explanation of just how forward thinking the game was. Now it's commonplace for artists to brand their own games and be heavily involved in the process.
According to The New York Times, "In 1997, Mr. Bowie bundled up nearly 300 of his existing recordings and copyrights into a $55 million security that paid the buyer — Prudential Insurance Company of America — a 7.9 percent annual rate over 10 years, backed by the income from his royalties and record sales, and the licensing of his songs for films or other uses."
Essentially, Bowie received a huge cash payment by forfeiting years worth of royalties. David Bowie knew that artists could not just reap royalties from their music careers, they had to get financially creative.
On the cover of his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars Bowie is seen standing under a sign that says K.West, a placard for a furrier shop of that same name. But then there's this weird thing— the first track of the album contains the lyric We've got five years, that's all we've got" and Kanye West was born five years and two days after the album was released. Spooky.