“What’s this doing here?” you may ask. Well, it seemed too interesting to pass up, honestly.
The legendary hip-hop act Wu-Tang Clan are releasing a 20th anniversary album, but have also been secretly working on a soon-to-be-one-of-a-kind double album that has an absolutely insane marketing idea behind it. That is, the Wu-Tang boys will release only one copy of their album, The Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin.
One copy? Yeah, one copy.
Before the album is sold to an individual, purportedly for literally millions of dollars, it will embark on a world tour making stops at museums, galleries, and potentially music festivals. Fans will have to pay to listen to the album in private through headphones and only be allowed to listen to it once through. Prior to that, though, they will be heavily screened for recording devices to make sure this “piece of art” stays exclusive to the tour.
“We’re about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music,” says Wu-Tang Clan member Robert “RZA” Diggs. “We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”
After the album makes its trip around the globe, it will be sold to basically the highest bidder for them to do whatever they please with the piece of work. Forbes speculates that certain companies will actually be interested in purchasing the album, but it’s very possible that a wealthy fan may shell out the dolleridoos for the one-of-a-kind musical release.
“The idea that music is art has been something we advocated for years,” says RZA. “And yet its doesn’t receive the same treatment as art in the sense of the value of what it is, especially nowadays when it’s been devalued and diminished to almost the point that it has to be given away for free.” Whether or not Wu-Tang Clan is able to find enough people who want to go experience their album in a museum to make an impact remains to be seen — as does the viability of a multi-million dollar unique pressing of that album, but the group is OK with its plan going awry. “It might totally flop, and we might be completely ridiculed,” says co-producer Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh “But the essence and core of our ideas is to inspire creation and originality and debate, and save the music album from dying.”
It’s impossible to say what the buyer will do with the album after acquisition, but if it were me, I would make sure that shit ended up in the ears of fans in some form. It’s agreeable that music is an art, but I don’t believe anyone should ever be deprived of it.