In November Forbes reported that Wu-Tang's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin finally sold for "millions" to an American buyer through auction startup Paddle8.
Who bought the "most expensive album ever made" for a reported $2 million? Pharma kingpin Martin Shkreli.
The 32-year-old Turing Pharmecuticals CEO, who raised the price of AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750, dished to Bloomberg Business in an article published on Wednesday. Shkreli reveals that Paddle8's co-founder told him owning the album would attract new friends like rappers and celebrities – types of people who would want to hear the one-of-a-kind record. "I really became convinced that I should be the buyer," he said.
The auction deal closed back in spring, months before Shkreli hiked the price of the AIDS drug. "The buyer and seller agreed to the sale in May, and spent months finalizing contracts and devising new legal protections for a distinctive work whose value depends on its singularity," Paddle8 disclosed.
In 2014 Wu-Tang Clan announced they would produce just one copy of OUATIS and it would be encased in a silver and nickel box with a leather-bound book of lyrics – all of the rare things – and it would go to the highest bidding at a future auction.
Member RZA said in a statement he "hoped that this concept would inspire debate and new ways of seeing creativity" while fans and other members of Wu criticized it saying it was taking away from the heart of what music is.
An early Paddle8 press release stated: "The conditions of sale stipulate that the buyer will agree to not release any of the content of the artwork to the public for a period of 88 years." Sadly Wu-devotees unsuccessfully tried to crowdfund for the record hoping to ensure it landed in deserving hands.
Before news of Shkreli's purchase hit the world, RZA emailed Bloomberg with a statement: "The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli's [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity."
Despite having his hands on the musical gem, Shkerli says he hasn't listened to it. On Wednesday morning he tweeted a YouTube live stream teasing that he might play the record.