01/13/1999 AT 12:00 AM EST
Rock star David Bowie, 52, and his Virgin Records America label released a statement Monday saying they will let fans download his new album from the Internet two weeks before it reaches stores, reports Reuters. The move marks the first time that a major recording artist and leading label are joining with retailers to bring a complete album to fans via digital download from the Internet. Major chains such as Tower Records, HMV, Sam Goody and Wherehouse Entertainment will participate. For two weeks starting Sept. 21 fans can download Bowie's 22nd studio album, titled "hours . . . ," only through the existing websites of participating retailers (not through Virgin's site or Bowie's site). The album is due for release in American stores Oct. 5.