[UPDATE]: PleasrDAO has announced that it purchased the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, back in July, ending months of speculation.
This past July, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced that the one-of-a-kind album once owned by the now-incarcerated Martin Shkreli had been sold to an unknown bidder.
In a video posted to the PleasrDAO (DAO meaning “Decentralized Autonomous Organization) YouTube page, the worldwide cryptocurrency collective confirmed that it had bought the two-CD, 31 track album. The five-minute video documents the purchase as well as clips of the PleasrDAO “Chief Pleasing Officer”, Jamis Johnson, listening for the first time.
“This beautiful piece of art, this ultimate protest against middlemen and rent-seekers of musicians and artists, went south by going into the hands of Martin Shkreli, the ultimate internet villain,” Johnson told Rolling Stone. “We want this to be us bringing this back to the people. We want fans to participate in this album at some level.”
The terms of the original sale, and the subsequent sale by the U.S. government, stipulate that the owner cannot commercially release, record, remix, stream, or even play the album at a large gathering.
“You couldn’t play [the album] onstage at Coachella,” Johnson told Rolling Stone. “But you could take out six really cool spaces across the world and do exhibitions with it where 200 people come at a time, and you would be able to sell tickets. We very much want to do that.”
Below, check out the YouTube video documenting the sale of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, and head here to read more about the PleasrDAO purchase.
PleasrDAO Once Upon A Time In Shaolin Announcement
[7/28/21]: The strange saga that combined corporate maleficence with hip-hop royalty appears to have finally come to an end on Tuesday with the announcement that the U.S. government has sold the sole copy of Wu-Tang Clan‘s Once Upon A Time In Shaolin—once owned by convicted felon Martin Shkreli—to an unknown bidder.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the sale “contains a confidentiality provision that protects information relating to the buyer and price.”
Proceeds from the sale of the album will go toward satisfying the disgraced pharma bro’s $7.36 million judgment levied against him in 2017 for securities fraud. Per court documents, the sale of the Wu-Tang album now fulfills Shkreli’s ordered monetary remuneration.
“Through the diligent and persistent efforts of this Office and its law enforcement partners, Shkreli has been held accountable and paid the price for lying and stealing from investors to enrich himself,” Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, wrote in a press release. “With today’s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete.”
Other court documents, viewed by Pitchfork, also address Shkreli’s ownership of a then-unreleased copy of Lil Wayne‘s Tha Carter V. Though the U.S. government ordered Shkreli to surrender the CD, it does not appear that authorities ever seized the album nor has it recovered any financial recompense from the CD.
Shkreli was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 and is currently serving eight years in federal prison. He came to notoriety in 2015 after his company Turin Pharmaceuticals acquired Daraprim, a drug used to treat toxoplasmosis in both AIDS-related and unrelated cases with no generic alternative, and raised the cost over $700 overnight. However, Shkreli was convicted of defrauding investors and not for price gauging customers.
Shortly after his sentence was handed down, Shkreli stated in 2017 his plans to sell Once Upon A Time In Shaolin—which he bought from Wu-Tang for $2 million—on eBay. Shortly thereafter, RZA said that he planned to buy the album back, but was prevented by the conditions of the auction. The U.S. government ended up stepping in and seizing the asset before it could be sold. It was announced in August 2020 that Netflix was producing a film adaptation of the saga with a script from Ian Edelman (How To Make It In America) and RZA on board as a producer.
[H/T Rolling Stone]