SO IT WAS REVEALED TODAY THAT Martin Shkreli, the 32-year-old founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals is the purchaser of the sole Wu-Tang album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. He bought the once in a lifetime album for an unknown price; though several sources now say around 2 million. While I hope this isn’t the future direction of all album sales. I must admit that RZA was a genius with this innovative idea. We all must face that facts that music is not selling like it use to in the 90’s and music is not valued like it use to be (I hear you Wale). In hip-hop this is even worse because rappers feel the pressure to feed the streets with free music to stay relevant. You don’t believe me – Puff and Rick Ross just released free albums on Dat Piff. Like it or not, it’s the current formula for today’s hip-hop artists and the game has to be played. There is something to be said about RZA’s radical idea to make music valuable and profitable for him and his team. And by all accounts the plan worked. The last Wu album A Better Tomorrow was dope and classic Wu but it only sold 60K copies. This idea grossed 2 million for one copy. The idea was innovative and a success.
But then there is when keeping it real goes wrong. And this time it went left because the guy the purchased the album has already tainted the legacy of the experiment. That guy: Martin Shkreli. Let’s be clear, I don’t know Mr. Shkreli. The most I know about him is from the series of articles about his company that increase the price of the prescription drug Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill overnight. Yep that’s right – he is the CEO that increase the price of a needed drug 5,000 percent in one day, for the good of the company of course. He’s pretty much a jerk in interviews and said he’s a fan of the Wu but he was really interested in the album as a music collector. All good…he bought it – the album is his but let me be clear. This is not RZA’s fault. Who knew that the ultimate album purchaser “may be” a price-gouging jerk. Again, I don’t know him so I can’t say for sure…but his tweets today are not helping him one bit. Bottom line: Great idea RZA — next time please add some sort of common good clause to the winning bid. #WESEEIT