The new owners of Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album Once Upon Time In Shaolin have been revealed. The album was seized from convicted fraudster Martin Shkreli as part of $7.4 million forfeiture money judgment against the price-gouging former pharmaceutical exec. Then the album was sold to an unnamed buyer in July and the trail went cold. The album then transferred hands to PleasrDAO on September 10 (DAO meaning decentralized autonomous organization, a community-focused entity with no central leadership governed around rules enforced on the blockchain).
PleasrDAO paid the equivalent of $4 million in a cryptocurrency in a complex transaction.
The album has 31-tracks on two CDs primarily created by RZA and producer Cilvaringz. The album is being held in a vault according to the 74-member DAO.
RZA & Cilvaringz insisted in the original sale to Shkreli that the album couldn’t be made available to the public until 2103, 88 years after the original sale. But PleasrDAO is looking to loosen the restrictions on the project, potentially with listening parties or gallery-style exhibitions. All of this would require approval from RZA & Cilvaringz.
“This album at its inception was a kind of protest against rent-seeking middlemen, people who are taking a cut away from the artist,” Jamis Johnson from PleasrDAO said about the album to the New York Times. “Crypto very much shares that same ethos.”
What will happen to the album will likely depend on conversations between PleasrDAO and RZA & Cilvaringz. It could be years or decades before this album gets heard in public, but now at least we know who owns the famed album.