Last week, the New York hip-hop group’s one-of-a-kind album was sold for $4 million to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called PleasrDAO, which is a group of NFT investors. The previous owner was a pharmaceutical con-artist who is locked up.
The most valuable album in the world. That’s a LOT a lot unpack. The New York Times did a great backstory, but here’s the highlights:
2007: Wu-Tang and Ditch producer Cilvaringz plan to make single copy album as a response to music devaluation. They were inspired by Renaissance era’s high value placed on art
2014: announce it would release just one copy of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”
2015: the album is bought in an auction for $2 million by then-Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli. It was the highest price ever for an album sale.
2017: Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud. The U.S. government seized all his assets including this album
2021: the U.S. govn’t sold album to PleasrDAO, which has bought NFTs for Pussy Riot, Edward Snowden, and more
The original DAO. If we want to be real, Wu-Tang was the original DAO. The way the group did its own legendary projects, impactful solo work, and still had that supportive link.
It’s also fitting that this album new owner, PleasrDAO, is a NFT company. In music, NFTs address many of the issues behind the release of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” If PleasrDAO releases the album for public consumption, it should be released in a way that keeps the legacy going.
But before it releases anything, it needs approval from RZA and Cilvaringz, since they still owe the rights to public consumption. Otherwise, it will have to wait until 2103!
Read more on Wu-Tang Clan’s website.