The Wu-Tang Clan recently announced that they will release just one copy of their new album. The concept is this: they sell it to one buyer and in 88 years the rights will become public domain and it will be up to that one buyer (or their grandchildren) what to do with it. They can decide to release it commercially, put it on whatever version of the internet exists at that time, or use it as a table leveler for all they care. Called Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, the album is expected to generate $5 million or more at auction.
What makes this album unique is the fact that it is going to be housed in what is essentially a time capsule. Wu-Tang has compared their album to a Picasso painting – a one-of-a-kind work of art. It has Cher on the album, so there is that. But could it be profitable to the buyer, especially at a $5 million price?
Much of that depends on the rate of inflation and if people even care about Wu-Tang nearly a century from now. A lot can happen in 88 years. If you dig sci-fi, you know the world is going to blow up in some way by then. Maybe the Vulcans will come down and make first contact and want to take a listen. Who knows?
And how exactly will the Wu keep those recordings under such a tight lock and key in an era when bootlegs spread like wildfire?
What we do know is this – fans of Wu-Tang are going to want this album, especially since they’ve changed plans and won’t be touring it. It’s something new for the music industry as well, which is always looking for new ways to market and monetize music in the Internet Age.
Then there’s this: cash rules everything around me .C.R.E.A.M. get the money. Dolla dolla bills y’all.