The single copy of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” was the only one ever made, and was initially bought by the business fraudster from the iconic rap group in 2015 for $2 million, making it the most expensive work of music ever sold.
The album, which is encased in a Baroque bejeweled box, was seized in 2018 along with Shkreli’s other assets by the Department of Justice. In July, the government agency said it offloaded the album to an undisclosed buyer to satisfy part of a $7.3 million forfeiture judgment against Shkreli, who is serving a seven-year sentence for security fraud.
That buyer, PleasrDAO, revealed itself via Twitter on Wednesday, writing: “#Breaking Wu-Tang album secured.”
Although it unclear what PleasrDAO intends to do with the album, which is comprised of 31 tracks on two CDs, it is currently bound to Wu-Tang’s original contract. That contract stipulates that the album cannot be released to the general public in any form until 2103 or 88 years from its initial sale in 2015.
The group of 74 NFT or non-fungible token collectors and artists, which is perhaps best known for buying and tokenizing the original Doge meme and purchasing Edward Snowden’s “Stay Free” artwork for 2,224 Ether, first approached the DOJ in April. Deal talks heated up by June and were finalized a month later.
PleasrDAO did not return requests for comment, but attorney Peter Scoolidge, who handled the purchase for the collective, told The Post that the group could exploit the intellectual property rights of the album by expanding ownership of the album to fans, for instance.
“From my perspective, the coolest aspect of the album is the creative use of property and contract rights to the music as an element of the art,” he said.
The lawyer, who was one of the few people to listen to “Shaolin,” added that he expects the collective to throw exclusive listening parties or gallery-style exhibitions to the album.
“It’s great music,” Scoolidge said of the album. “I’ve been listening to Wu-Tang since the mid-’90s. I loved it.”