BOWIE: DOWNLOADED MUSIC IS HUNKY DORY

Web fans get to hear or buy it before it's in the shops...

David Bowie releases a new single, ‘Thursday’s Child’, on September 20 on Virgin, a taster from his new album ‘hours’, out on October 5.

Also, on September 21, the album will be available as a download with an exclusive track not available on the CD that will be sold in the shops. The album is the first major label release to utilise the Secure Digital Music Initiative-compatible formats Microsoft Audio 4.0 and Liquid Audio.

The format differs from Mp3 file downloads in that they cannot be freely copied from machine to machine. Last week Microsoft released details of its own secure downloadable music system Windows Media Audio which has files much smaller than Mp3s. The next day a program called unfuck.exe was released by anonymous programmers that allows the ‘secure’ files to be freely copied and distributed. It works by capturing the WMA audio stream on the way to be output on the speakers and saving them as an unprotected file.

The new album, Bowie‘s 23rd, was produced by the singer and long-time collaborator and guitarist Reeves Gabrels. A spokesman described ‘hours’ as a return to “‘Hunky Dory’ days”, though still “next-generation Bowie“.

Eight of the ten songs feature on a new Eidos PC game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Bowie and his band also feature in some scenes of the game performing the songs.

One song, ‘What Is Really Happening’, was also written by US fan Alex Grant, who entered a songwriting competition held by Bowie on his website.

Another track, ‘The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell’, features on forthcoming horror movie Stigmata, a thriller described as the “’90’s The Exorcist“. Click here to look at the movie’s website.