David Bowie once launched "an artist-created" Internet Service Provider (ISP), BowieNet in order to bring fans closer to the music they loved.
Bowie, who has died aged 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer, established the platform in 1998, proving once again how he was an artist truly ahead of his time.
The ISP was shut down in 2012 but it went down in the Guinness World Records as the first "artist-created internet service provider."
The "high-speed" service first launched in the US in September 1998 and then came to the UK a few months later in December.
"I wanted to create an environment where not just my fans, but all music fans could be part of a single community where vast archives of music and information could be accessed, views stated and ideas exchanged," Bowie said.
Users were required to pay £10.00 month and in return they would get "essential news" as well as exclusive Bowie.Net content, similar to what modern-day streaming platforms such as Tidal and Apple Music promise.
According to a press release published at the time of launch, Bowie's ISP began with a the world's first glam rock-themed chat with music producer Tony Visconti and photographer Mick Rock.
Each user was also given 20MB to build their homepage, a davidbowie.com email address and a "full schedule of real-time chat sessions with Bowie and other artists and celebrities."
Eerily predictive of how the entertainment industry would come to rely on the net, the plaform also promised users BowieNet Radio, where users could experience the legend acting as "program director and DJ."
Since then we've grown accustomed to a host of similar services including Apple's Beats 1, headed by former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe.
Today, Bowie's vision to create a "vast archive of music" has become a bandwagon that music and tech leaders have jumped on, launching tools such as Spotify -- now almost eight years old.
However, at the time many including Jeremy Paxman were quite skeptical of his idea.
In an interview, conducted in 2008, the artist told a quizzical Paxman: "I like the idea that there is a new demystification process going on between the artist and the audience..."
Describing what the internet would do for the industry he said, "we're on the cusp of something exhilarating and terrifying," to which Paxman answered:"....it's just a tool isn't it."
Tributes to the legend have been pouring in on social media, including a tweet from British astronaut Tim Peake:
Saddened to hear David Bowie has lost his battle with cancer – his music was an inspiration to many. @DavidBowieReal
— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) January 11, 2016
All hail, David Bowie, Star Man, Hero. RIP. More words on my Soapbox. But this will take a while to compute. Very sad. Bri
— Dr. Brian May (@DrBrianMay) January 11, 2016
— Madonna (@Madonna) January 11, 2016
David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) January 11, 2016
When I think of art and what's possible, I think of David Bowie. A hero who inspired heroes, he gave us much to love and study. What a life.
— Zane Lowe (@zanelowe) January 11, 2016
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