Who's Who in Bowie Bonds

The History of a Music Business Revolution

"You could almost write a James Bond novel from those documents."
Brian Holland, the great Motown song writer, describing his Bowie bond deal.

The Sound of Money

Once money consisted of gold or silver, or paper backed by precious metals. Today it is increasingly intangible. In 1997 a new meaning was given to the expression sound money when a method of turning music into credit was invented. David Bowie was the first singer to issue bonds using future royalties as security.

David Pullman, the banker who planned the deal, was hailed by Time magazine as one of tomorrow's hundred most influential innovators.

Following in Bowie's footsteps other stars have turned music notes into bank notes and the idea of using asset backed securities as a means of raising finance has also been applied to other forms of entertainment ranging from Hollywood films to the 2002 Football World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

The movers and shakers in this marriage of show business and banking are described below.

  Bowie bonds have now been discussed in fiction!

Cover of Something Wild, the thriller about Bowie bonds by Linda Davies.

"I was so honored when I heard that a best-selling author of Linda Davies' caliber was writing a novel based on my first deal with David Bowie. Intellectual property continues to grow and is now a trillion dollar market. Linda's book gives readers a look at how exciting this industry can be." David Pullman, the inventor of Bowie bonds.

Something Wild, a novel set in the music industry and featuring Bowie bonds, is a thriller by Linda Davies.

Something Wild is available in paperback and also in hardback and may be ordered from Amazon.co.uk and other booksellers. The paperback version is also available from Amazon.ca in Canada. It was selected by WH Smith as their Book of the Week beginning 11 November, Handbag Book of the Week 18 November, and Western Mail Pick of the Paperbacks, 23 November 2002.

[ The Stars | The Song Writers | Rumours of Deals ]
[ Bankers and Financiers | Lawyers ]
[ Literature, Films, Television, Sport and Entertainment Events ]
[ Other types of Intellectual Property : Trade Marks and Patents ]
[ The Future of Money ]

The Stars

David Bowie

According to Salon magazine "as the master of self-reinvention - from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke to Normal David - he became the most influential rock star of the post-Beatles era." In January 1997 he made financial history by raising $55 million through the issue of issue of 10-year asset-backed bonds, the collateral consisting of future royalties from 25 albums that he recorded before 1990. Prudential Insurance Co. bought the bonds. Since then Bowie has been involved in a number of innovative ventures for a rock star, including an online bank, an Internet services provider and an Internet-basedradio station. In December 2001 he announced that he was setting up his own record label. Andy Serwer, writing in Fortune magazine, July 23, 2003, stated that in hindsight Bowie cashed in at the perfect time, before most of humankind had ever heard the little phrase "file sharing."

Ashford & Simpson

Songwriting duo and performers Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson are responsible for hits such as Ain't no mountain high enough and I'm every woman. Their copyrights to 247 songs were the backing for a $25 million bond issue by the Pullman Group in 1999.

James Brown

The "Godfather of Soul", "Sex Machine" or "hardest-working man in show business", as he has also been called, signed a Bowie Bond-type deal with David Pullman in June 1999 netting $30 million. Seven years later Brown wished to refinance his bonds by using them as collateral against a loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland, but Pullman objected to the terms. As a result James Brown decided to sue David Pullman and filed a law suit in July 2006.

The Isley Brothers

In September 1999 David Pullman arranged a deal to securitise the Isley Brothers catalogue of over 200 songs, including 50 R&B hits. This deal proved a very difficult one to pull off since EMI Records, the singer Michael Bolton, and the IRS all tried to block it for their own reasons at one stage or another as Christian M. Chensvold describes in his article about David Pullman, the Music Man.

Marvin Gaye

In September 2000 the Pullman Group arranged a bond issue for the estate of the late Marvin Gaye, whose musical legacy includes What's Going On, I Heard It Though The Grapevine, and Sexual Healing. The musician's widow and children shared the profits from the sale of the bonds.

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden became the first heavy-metal band to has sell bonds when it arranged a $30 million deal in February 1999. The deal was arranged by the law firm, Thelen Reid & Priest. Michael Elkin, chair of the firm's Entertainment and Media Practice Group, handled the negotiations.

Rod Stewart

In April 1998 the Financial Times reported that Rod Stewart was given a $15.4m loan from Nomura Capital, which is backed by revenues from his music publishing catalogue. The intention was that Nomura would later issue a combined bond against Rod Stewart's future royalties and those of other musicians.

Dusty Springfield

In May 1998 Dusty Springfield made a deal, reputedly worth about $10 million, with Entertainment Finance International, a group formed by Prudential Investments and rock management firm RZO involving rights to her entire 275-song collection, including hits as I Only Want To Be With You, Wishin' And Hopin' and You Don't Have To Say You Love Me. EFI was intending to bundle the deal with similar ones in a single bond issue which would be sold to Prudential Insurance. Sadly, Dusty Springfield died of cancer less than a year later.

Song Writers

Edward and Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier

A $30 million bond deal was announced in April 1998 for this songwriting team who were responsible for some of the greatest hits of Motown groups, e.g. the Supremes' Stop in the Name of Love, and The Four Tops' It's the Same Old Song. Phil Gallo wrote in an editorial in Variety magazine, May 11 2003, that "Holland, Dozier and Holland, perhaps more than any other songwriters in history, have shown considerable business acumen." In the same article Brian Holland was quoted as saying of their Bowie bond deal, "that's a tricky situation. You could almost write a James Bond novel from those documents."

Duane Hitchings

Duane Hitchings has written songs that over the years have been hits for artists including Rod Stewart, Heart, Kim Carnes, Pat Benatar, Eddie Money, Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Donny Osmond and Steve Perry. In November 1998 it was announced that Hitchings' catalogue would be securitised by David Pullman. Estimates of the value of the deal ranged widely from $25 million to $100 million.

Music Catalogues


The world's fourth largest music firm and owner of the biggest music catalogue, EMI announced a securitisation plan new! in April 2007. It has hired the Royal Bank of Scotland, which was responsible for arranging the securitisation of the Chrysalis Group's catalogue, and Deutsche Bank with the intention of completing the arrangements by the end of the year.


SESAC, Inc. is a performing rights organization, with its headquarters in Nashville and offices in New York, Los Angeles and London. It collects royalties for songwriters and music publishers. In May 1999 SESAC was advanced it advanced $29 million secured against, on future income from its music catalogue, by CAK Universal Credit Corp. (now known as UCC Capital) in a deal brokered by Charles Koppelman.

Chrysalis Group Plc

On 1 March 2001, the Royal Bank of Scotland announced the securitisation of the global music publishing rights catalogue of Chrysalis Group Plc - the largest music rights-backed deal up to that time, and the first for an international music publisher. The Chrysalis group's catalogue comprised 50,000 songs from several thousand songwriters. Rob Horowitz, who structured the deal, later left the Royal Bank of Scotland and joined Credit Suisse First Boston, in New York.


Joan Jett

In September 1998 it was quite widely reported that Joan Jett's I Love Rock 'N' Roll originally released in late 1981, was to be the foundation of a bond offer being put together by David Pullman and Jake Hooker, one of the song's writers. The "seven-figure deal" deal would have been unusual in being based to such an extent on a single song. It was said that most of the song's future earnings were expected to come from airplay and the sales of Jett's record, any future cover versions would also boost earnings. However the deal never took place and reports of the negotiations came as a surprise to some of the people who would have expected to be involved in any such deal. 

The Beatles

The copyrights for the songs recorded by the greatest pop group of all time were originally assigned to Northern Songs whose directors were Brian Epstein (the Beatles' manager) and Dick James. Later, Dick James sold his shares to ATV Music and although Lennon and McCartney launched a counter bid for Northern Songs they were unsuccessful. Eventually, after ATV Music was taken over it was sold in September 1985 (reportedly for £ 34,000,000) to Michael Jackson who thereby acquired the copyrights to about 250 Beatles' songs. Therefore rumours about a bond deal involving Jackson generally involve the Beatles too. However he used the Beatles' catalogue as collateral for a £200 million loan from Sony instead and since sales of his latest album Invincible have not been as great as anticipated, there has been speculation that Michael Jackson will be forced to put the copyrights to the Beatles' songs up for sale. In March 2002 Fox News claimed that Sony was going to demand that Jackson hand over his share of the Beatles' catalogue and although that did not happen speculation was renewed in December 2005 that he would lose his stake if he defaulted on loan repayments.

Michael Jackson

Probably more rumours about a Bowie bond deal have centred around Michael Jackson than any other performer. Thriller, released in 1982, is the best-selling album of all-time, but his very expensive lifestyle and various lawsuits had, according to some reports, left him with a cashflow problem by 1995 when his ATV Music Publishing Company merged with Sony Music Publishing. However Jackson owns 50% of the merged company and his spokesmen have denied that he had financial problems. Nevertheless similar rumours re-emerged after Bowie bond deals came into the spotlight. Newsweek claimed back in November 1998 that Jackson was about to sign a bond deal and over two years later, in May 2001 the Mail on Sunday is going to raise £350 million (or US $500 million) by issuing bonds backed by the copyrights of his own songs and those of the Beatles in what was described as the Holy Grail of showbiz bond deals. That story too, was later denied.

While Jackson may have had talks about a bond issue nothing definite seems to have come of them and according to reports in the Sunday Times on 6 January 2002 he turned to his record company Sony for a loan instead, borrowing £200 million, using the Beatles' catalogue as collateral, to fund his Neverland Ranch in California and make the album Invincible, released in September 2001. Another report in the same issue of the newspaper claimed that Sony had given him £30 million to finance the making of Invincible.

In May 2003 there was more speculation about Jackson's finances in the media and it was even suggested that he might face bankruptcy. Although financial difficulties would increase the attractiveness of a bond deal to Jackson, they would reduce the attractiveness to potential investors. The effects of an artist's bankruptcy on the structure of this financing method, was considered by H. John Jackson (presumably no relation to Michael Jackson!) in an article entitled Royalty Securitization: Taking CABS to Bankruptcy Court in the Thomas Jefferson Law Review, no. 121, p.209-234, 1999.

On February 24 2004, the New York Daily News reported that Michael Jackson, beset with legal problems, was again considering securitizing his song catalogue. Many commentators were sceptical of that report. David Pullman pointed out that such deals take many months to arrange and that Jackson's need for cash was probably more immediate.

Bob Marley

The Miami Herald, on February 9 2004, carried an article about the estate of the man who is still synonymous with reggae - Bob Marley. It mentioned that David Pullman regards the Bob Marley catalogue as one of the top five music catalogues in the world and that he estimated it would be worth $100 million on the open market.

Robbie Williams

In January 2002 it was reported that Robbie Williams was in talks with David Pullman about a possible bond deal worth £35 million. Pullman was quoted as describing Williams as an ideal candidate because of the number of hits he already had to his name, including timeless songs like Angels and She's The One, and his future potential. However in October 2002 Williams signed a new deal for 6 albums with EMI, giving him £10 million up front and up to £70 million in all. On 6 November 2002 the Daily Telegraph, in an article about Williams' new album Escapology claimed that inside sources had revealed that the upfront payment in the deal with EMI was actually £55 million.

As one of the main advantages of a bond deal is that the performer receives money upfront instead of having to wait for royalties to accumulate, then, if the Daily Telegraph's claim is true, it is unlikely that Robbie Williams would still be interested in issuing bonds within the next few years. A later report in the Times, on 20 November, claimed that £55 million was the total value of the deal and that even at that lower figure EMI would have to sell 18 million copies of Robbie Williams albums before it makes a single penny in profit. Perhaps fears that Williams would walk away from the company if he got a Bowie bond deal led to EMI offering him a very good contract.

Japanese Enka Songs

In an article on the Japanese securitisation industry on 5 April 2004, the Financial Times reported that some work had been done on the possibility of securitising revenues from catalogues of traditional but rather doleful Japanese enka tunes. Some people have described enka as being the Japanese equivalent of country and western music.

Canadian Singers

According to the Asset Securitization Report, October 14, 2002, the possibility of securitizing the song libraries of Canadian pop stars Brian Adams, Alanis Morrisette and Gordon Lightfoot was discussed during an intellectual property panel discussion at Strategic Research Institute's Asset Based Securitization Industry Summit.

Luciano Pavarotti

In December 1997 David Pullman told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that the opera singer, could raise $50 million by selling 10-year bonds backed by his future revenues. As Pavarotti was in the middle of divorcing his wife at the time there was much speculation that he needed to raise a large amount of money if he wished to continue his then current lifestyle. Gerd Neitzel, a pension fund manager, was sceptical and was quoted as saying "Pavarotti is big, but he's not big enough to achieve a top credit rating." In principle however, there is no reason why the most popular figures in opera should not be just as suitable candidates for bond issues as many pop stars.


The Bankers

David Pullman

In 1997 David Pullman negotiated a $55 million deal for the issue of bonds secured by the royalties from David Bowie's back catalogue. Pullman then quit the Fahnestock & Co. investment bank and set up the Pullman Group for the purpose of arranging similar deals. In the next few years he arranged bond issues for James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Ashford & Simpson, and the song-writing team Holland Dozier Holland among others. He has done more than anyone to popularise the concept of celebrity bonds but he himself prefers to call them Pullman bonds instead of Bowie bonds. In 2000 David Pullman was selected by Time magazine as one of tomorrow's hundred most influential innovators.

Music is not the only area in which Pullman has arranged deals. He has also issued bonds secured on the income of the estate of John Steinbeck, author of the Grapes of Wrath, and even ones secured on the earnings of a cartoon character, Casper the Friendly Ghost, who first made his debut in a Paramount film in 1945. A television series based on the character started in 1959.

In January and February 2002, United Airlines chose the Pullman Group for a Salute to Pullman Bonds. Classic hits from artists with whom David Pullman had negotiated bond deals were played as part of the in-flight entertainment on United Airlines worldwide fleet which carries 15 million passengers a month. It was the first time any organisation other than a record company had been honoured in that way.

On May 28 2003, Moody's Investors Service announced that it might downgrade the bonds backed by music royalties of David Bowie in light of the sales slump in the recording industry. Ten months later, in March 2004, Moody's downgraded them to one level above junk. At the time of Moody's original warning David Pullman pointed out that even if the bonds were downgraded several notches, they would continue to carry an investment-grade rating. The bonds he has created for other artists are set up differently so they are not affected by the performance of a company like EMI.

After the downgrading Pullman stressed that there was no possibility of the bonds defaulting since the value of the assets of David Bowie's catalogue, publishing and recording masters are far in excess of the outstanding balance of the bonds.

Charles Koppelman

Charles Koppelman has worked in the music business all his adult life. While still a student he was part of a trio which recorded a novelty song, Yogi, about the cartoon bear, which reached the US top ten in September 1960. Later he pursued a very successful career in the management side of the music business and from 1988 to 1997, Koppelman served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EMI Capital Music, North America. Since February 1998 he has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CAK Universal Credit Corp. In an interview in the International Herald Tribune Koppelman said "I like to think of my association with the banking and investment industries as a marriage between Wall Street and Tin Pan Alley."

Robert D'Loren

Robert D'Loren, President and Chief Executive Officer of UCC. Earlier on in his career he worked as a manager with Deloitte & Touche and then Fosterlane Management before starting his own company, D'Loren Organization, in 1985. At UCC D'Loren has concentrated on securitisation backed by the intellectual property of firms with well-known brands, including the fashion designers Bill Blass and Gloria Vanderbilt, the Athlete's Foot shoe-store chain and Candie's, purveyor of teen accessory and jeans brands, among other companies. In an interview with Forbes Magazine in March 2004, D'Loren said that he planed to sell stocks based on such intangibles.

UCC Capital (formerly CAK Universal Credit)

CAK Universal Credit Corp., was established in February 1998 by Charles Koppelman in a joint venture with Prudential Securities Incorporated to provide financing to the entertainment, sports and licensing industries. It lends money against intellectual-property income streams, as opposed to simply securitizing entertainment assets but many of the loans are subsequently parcelled together for bond issues. The types of intellectual property of interest to CAK, including computer software, books, movies and patents, as well as music. In May 1999 CAK made a $29 million deal with the SESAC performing rights society. The firm changed its name to UCC Capital in August 2002, the same month that it announced an intellectual property securitization deal with Candie's Inc., a firm in the fashion industry. That deal was typical of the type that UCC Capital are seeking in the music business. Rather than deal with individual stars they are offering a whole-company securitization programme to potential clients. The aim is to make loans to labels in need of $15 million-to-$20 million for expansion or acquisitions and later package those loans into securitizations and sell them to investors.

Nomura Capital Entertainment

In September 1997 Nomura Capital Entertainment was established by Nomura Asset Capital Corp., a division of Japanese investment bank Nomura Securities. The intention was that instead of offering individual securities based on one entertainer's future profits, the new division would pool music and publishing royalties, as well as royalties from TV and film libraries. Among the people recruited by Ethan Penner, the president and founder of Nomura Asset, were Irving Azoff, who manages the Eagles, veteran Los Angeles entertainment banker Irene Romero, who had been in charge of entertainment industry financing for Republic Bank in Los Angeles (now part of HSBC ) and Casey Wasserman, grandson of former MCA Inc. Chairman Lew Wasserman. However the loan to Rod Stewart in April 1998 was the only deal that was made before Nomura closed the division.

Royal Bank of Scotland

The Royal Bank of Scotland, which was founded in 1727 and is the bank that invented the overdraft, made a dramatic entry to the music securitisation business when its Financial Markets division completed the largest ever bond issue issue of this type on 1 March 2001, when it announced a £60 million deal based on the catalogue of the Chrysalis Group Plc, a global music publishing concern. The deal, which took about two years to arrange, was also the first to involve a multi-jurisdictional international music-publishing catalogue. However, not long afterwards, Rob Horowitz who structured the deal, left the Royal Bank of Scotland to join Credit Suisse First Boston to spearhead that bank's push into intellectual property securitisation.

Entertainment Finance International

In April 1998 RZO, led by William Zysblat, a financial business adviser to David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, and Crosby Stills and Nash, among others, established Entertainment Finance International in collaboration with the Prudential Investments subsidiary of Prudential Insurance Co. of America, for the purpose of arranging finance for show business celebrities, artists, writers, song writers etc. EFI's first deal was the one with Dusty Springfield announced the following month.

SunTrust Bank

In Billboard magazine, June 30, 2001, Brian Williams, director of music private banking in SunTrust's branch in Nashville, the home of country music, revealed that SunTrust were planning to get involved in the music securitisation business. Early in 1999 Williams had met David Pullman to discuss the possibility of working together but no common ground was reached and the two parted amicably. However, in the Billboard article Williams pointed out that SunTrust had been involved in extending loans to artists for about 26 years and securitisation would be a logical extension of its existing business. In November 2002 Billboard reported that the SunTrust Bank's Music Private Banking Group was still studying the possibility of entering the music-royalty securitization business.

Music Securities Inc.

This is a Japanese company which issues investment trust funds linked to sales of CDs, thus helping to foster the careers of young musicians. The first such investment trust was launched in 2001. Although the funds are small some of them have produced annual returns of up to 13%.

The Music Fund

In October 2002, Francois Pham-Quang, the Lehman Brothers' London-based head of European equity derivatives sales, left the company to establish the Music Fund which will securitize the future earnings of catalogues and other music assets. While at Lehman Pham-Quang invested in small music labels, including those of R&B singers India Arie and Sunshine Anderson. The fund is expected to start trading once it has raised has raised $150 million.


The world's first digital music rights investment market, DigiCirc, launched its services on June 2, 2003. It allows the owners of Intellectual Property rights to raise capital by auctioning a percentage of their rights from CDs, distribution and merchandising deals, earnings from tours etc. It also gives others who want to be in the music industry a quick entry in to the business. DigiCirc was founded by JayCee James, CEO of Serenity Entertainment, Inc., who is currently writing a book which will function as a Music Release Financing Kit. DigiCirc is designed for the benefit of new artists without large back catalogues, and small investors who might only contribute $50 or $100.


According to a report on June 24, 2003 in Gazeta Mercantil (the Brazilian equivalent of the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal) Catalis is planning to market bonds that will pay interest from the royalties of Brazilian songs such as The Girl from Ipanema, a world-wide hit in the 1960s. That song was inspired by a beautiful, green-eyed 15-year-old who used to buy cigarettes for her mother in a bar close to the Ipanema beach where Antonio Carlos Tom Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes used to drink beer. Jobim composed the music and Moraes wrote the lyrics. Darryl Kirsh, a partner in Catalis, said that the bond issues would initially be worth between 1 million and 20 million Cruzeiro Reals, i.e. approximately US$ 350,000 - US$ 7,000,000. The first bond issue is likely to be marketed by September 2003.

The Lawyers

Thelen Reid & Priest

Michael Elkin of the law firm Thelen Reid & Priest, worked on the Iron Maiden bond deal announced in February 1999. Lawyers from the firm were also involved in the negotiations that lead to the deal between the SESAC performing rights society and CAK in May that year. In February 2007 Elkin joined Winston & Strawn LLP where he continues to work on intellectual property issues.

Rush Capital LLC

Stephen Rush founded the Rush Law Group, which specialises in intellectual property, patent and technology law, in 2002. It has offices in Nashville and New York. By October 2003 he had established a a new company, Rush Capital LLC, that seeks to monetise intellectual property and patents by means of securitisation. Rush already has extensive experience of securitisations where intellectual property was the collateral, having previously been involved in deals with the Bank of America, AmSouth Bank, U.S. Bank and Citibank. Rush was quoted as saying that in Nashville lacks locally owned businesses of a size suitable for Bowie bond type deals but his new firm, Rush Capital LLC has offices in New York and San Francisco as well as Nashville itself.

The Show Business Bonds War

In November 1999 the Pullman Group filed a a $2 billion-plus lawsuit against Charles Koppelman's CAK/Universal Credit Corp. and its partner, Prudential Securities, among others, alleging breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. The case was dismissed in August the next year by the New York Supreme Court on the grounds that David Pullman could not claim proprietary rights as he had been an employee of Fahnstock & Co., when the original deal with David Bowie was done. However, the Pullman Group filed an amended complaint in February 2001 and an attempt by Prudential to have this dismissed too was rejected by the court in September 2002. On 13 February 2003 the Pullman Group won again when Prudential Financial et. al were denied leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals in Albany. However, on July 3, 2003 came the announcement that the Supreme Court of New York had dismissed the Pullman Group's lawsuit.

Meanwhile Prudential was involved in a legal dispute over bonds with another company, TVT Records, to which they had made a $23.5 million loan in 1999, based on anticipated income from the label's catalogue. By August 2002 Prudential claimed TVT Records were in default on the loan as the revenue was not enough to meet the repayment formula and therefore Prudential was entitled to ownership of the catalogue assets. TVT Records responded in July 2003 with a claim that Prudential had violated the loan agreement, which TVT maintains was tied to just 5% of the catalogue, and was seeking unfairly to gain control of the assets.

Other Forms of Entertainment


David Pullman arranged a bond deal for the estate of Grapes of Wrath author John Steinbeck.

Films and Television

Vittorio Cecchi Gori

Not all that long after the David Bowie bond deal another, much larger but less publicised securitisation involving the entertainment industry also made history. In February 1998 Vittorio Cecchi Gori announced he was launching the first securitised bonds backed by a film library. The deal, arranged by Merrill Lynch was for a $ 294 million seven-year bond issue backed by a library of about 1,200 Italian and international films ranging from movies to Federico Fellini to the Italian rights to almost all the James Bond movies.

Casper the Friendly Ghost was the subject of another Pullman bond deal.

AmRe Capital Markets has financed films by loans secured on the revenues from groups of movies. It is unlikely that all the films will be commercially successful but on or two big hits should suffice to repay the loans. Late in 2000 or early in 2001 AmRe made a $540 million deal with Dreamworks SKG movie studio, which is owned by Steven Spielberg, Jerry Katzenberg and David Geffen. Chase Manhattan Bank was also involved. Among the films from whose revenues the money will be repaid are Saving Private Ryan and American Beauty. AmRe are not the only insurance company to have financed films in this way but two other firms lost considerable sums of money on similar deals in 1998.

DreamWorks LLC announced on August 26, 2002 announced a $1 billion film securitization deal, claimed to be the first of its kind in the film industry. A syndicate of nine banks is providing the finance for new films.

Computer Games

In 2000 Monex Inc., a Tokyo-based online broker, and Konami Corp., a major Japanese producer of game machines and software launched an investment trust known as the Tokimeki Game Fund backed by sales of the games. It was the first content securitization product to be offered publicly to individual investors and proved popular with computer game fans since Konami offered to list the investors' names at the end of the software.


Frank Thomas, a Chicago White Sox baseball player, was reported to be considering a Bowie bond type deal in August 1998.

The New York Islanders ice hockey team was reported to be involved in negotiations for a bond issue in February 2000 using their payments from a long-term television contract as security. CAK Universal Credit Corp was involved in the negotiations.

A number of European football clubs have issued revenue backed bonds. In Italy SS Lazio raised 50 billion lire ($ 29.4 million) by this method in 1997. In 1999 Newcastle United became the first British club to use such bonds to finance a new stadium and has since been followed by Leeds United, Ipswich Town, Leicester City and Southampton.

FIFA, world soccer's governing body, raised $420 million via a bond deal the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, using expected receipts as collateral.

In 1998 the investment bank Morgan Stanley Dean Witter raised $1.4 billion for Formula One motor racing. The bonds were named "Bernie bonds" after Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One supremo, and the deal helped to make a media star of Robin Saunders, the blonde American banker.

Tourist Attractions

In May 1999, Madame Tussauds raised £230 million in a 25 year securitization deal backed by revenue from its waxwork museum.


The Japanese firm DLJdirect SFG Securities Inc. announced in August 2002 that it was entering the new business of securitizing entertainment events, including sports and the production of music CDs. Its first venture was to raise 200 million yen to finance Chinese circus shows due to be held in Tokyo. Unfortunately the audiences attracted by the circus were not quite as high as hoped and the bonds fell below par.


Since 1988, when the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed, casinos on Native American reservations have seen their revenues increase from $100 million a year to $14.5bn in 2002. The scale of the projects needing funding has led to some tribes issuing bonds secured largely by revenue from gambling. One major such deal was the raising of $315 million by a bond issue by the Seminole in Florida in 2002.

Other forms of Intellectual Property

Trade Marks and the Fashion Industry

Thelen Reid & Priest LLP announced in November 1999 that it had arranged a leaveraged buyout of Bill Blass Ltd., the company established by the world-renowned fashion designer of the same name, through the issuance of bonds backed by various assets, the most valuable of which was the Bill Blass trademark.

On August 22, 2002, another firm in the fashion industry, Candie's Inc., announced an intellectual property securitization deal with UCC Capital Corp.

BCBG Max Azria Group reinforced the trend for major fashion groups to raise money in this way with a $53 million bond issue in December 2004, backed by the firm's intellectual property assets, including such well-known trademarks as BCBG Max Azria, BCBGirls, BCBG//Attitude, Parallel, To The Max, and Herve Leger.


In principle revenue streams from patents should be just as good a form of security as those from copyrights. There has been much talk of extending the Bowie bond concept to patents. In May 2002 in a review of the prospects for patent backed securitization, David Edwards gave examples of a couple of cases in which patents have been already been used for this purpose.

Discussions of Bowie bonds and patents have also cropped up in another context. US law allows patents to be awarded, in certain cases, for innovative business processes and therefore in July 2002 David Pullman filed for patent protection on certain aspects of his music royalty securitization process. His application was still being reviewed a year later.

Bowie Bonds and the Future of Money

When David Bowie made the original celebrity bond deal he was inevitably criticised by some fans for "selling out" - as if pop music had little previous connection with money. Such a charge comes naturally to those who associate pop music with the youth revolution of the 1960s onwards. However, there are economists who regard Bowie bonds as a manifestation of a less publicised revolution leading to the replacement of coins and banknotes by intangible forms of money and to a weakening of government control of the financial system.

Another major financial innovation that will accelerate the movement to non-governmental money is securitization. This is the process by which previously illiquid assets are made liquid. ... An increasingly wide variety of assets are now securitized. For instance, the expected stream of royalties from singer David Bowie's recordings have been securitized. In theory, virtually any marketable asset could be securitized.

The End of Money and the Struggle for Financial Privacy
by Richard W. Rahn

Another book which considers the significance of Bowie bonds is Future Wealth, by Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer, published by the Harvard Business School Press. The authors see Bowie bonds as being symbolic of changes in the nature of wealth as intangible assets grow in importance.

Bowie Bonds in Fiction

Linda Davies, a former banker who worked in New York and London, is the author of three previous novels set in the world of banking and finance; Nest of Vipers, Wilderness of Mirrors, and Into the Fire. Her fourth novel, Something Wild, is the first work of fiction to deal with Bowie bonds and intellectual property in the music business. Her latest novel, Final Settlement, was published in Canada in 2005.

[ Top ]
[ Financial Thrillers by Linda Davies ]
[ Something Wild ]
[ History of Money ]
[ Glyn Davies - biography ]
[ Money: Past, Present and Future ]
[ Roy Davies' home page ]
Roy Davies.
Last updated 5 June 2007.