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Monday, 30 August, 1999, 18:02 GMT 19:02 UK
Bowie's cyberspace oddity
David Bowie: An established Web enthusiast
Rock legend David Bowie is to launch his new album over the Internet.

Fans will be able to download the new work "hours..." from Websites weeks before it goes on sale in the shops.

A huge Internet enthusiast, 52-year-old Bowie said he was very pleased to be launching his new work this way.

"I am hopeful that this small step will lead to greater steps by myself and others, ultimately giving consumers greater choices and easier access to the music they enjoy," he enthused.

The album "hours ..." is described by Bowie's record company Virgin Music as "very song-driven, a hark back to the Hunky Dory days of the early 1970s".

David Bowie self-portraits: Sold on his Website
It will be available from the Websites of about 50 major music retailers including Tower, HMV and Virgin from 21 September.

CDs of the recording will not be available in the shops until 4 October in Britain and 5 October in the US.

To combat the risk of piracy from the early release of the album, customers will be able to download it onto their hard drive but they will not be able to transfer it onto a disk.

The price, which is yet to be set, could be much lower than the cost of buying a conventional recording.

Bowie is an old hand at Web technology. He has his own Internet provider BowieNet, as well as his official Website

Two years ago he released an Web-only drum and bass single Telling Lies. He has also sold his own works of art on the Web.

He hopes this latest venture will encourage other musicians to become Web-friendly and make Internet music releases the norm.

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