When it come to the convergence of music, experiential design, and emergent tech, there are few bigger names than Björk and David Bowie, and Andrew Melchior, who has developed a career as a creative technologist working especially with musicians, was behind ground-breaking projects for both.
His early career was spent with EMI, where in 1998 he worked with Bowie on creating the BowieNet internet service provider. BowieNet was the first of its kind as an ISP launched by a musical artist and offered users a fully customisable home page, a davidbowie.com e-mail address (email@example.com), chat rooms, access to unreleased music and artwork, first-in-line tickets and more. While the project was short-lived (many people struggled to battle with the creakily slow internet speeds of the time), the project is fascinating as a marriage of people, art, and zeitgeisty technology.
It was a very Bowie project – and a very Melchior one, too. As the Guardian put it, “this ISP wasn’t just a new means of marketing [Bowie’s] material to the masses, it was the realisation of something he’d always understood about music: that the fan response completes the art”. It’s about interaction, immersion, and engagement – three things that have always been driving forces in Melchior’s explorations of the possibilities of tech, music, and people.