Shkreli purchased the album through the auction site Paddle8, which announced last month that it sold “Shaolin” to a “single collector, with no physical or digital duplicate in existence.” The auction site described the album as “a sonic sculpture presented in a hand-carved nickel-silver box.” It also comes with “a 174-pages of bound gilded parchment containing lyrics, credits, and anecdotes on the production of each song, bound in leather.”
Last March, Wu-Tang Clan revealed it was selling a special edition double album of which there would be only one copy. The group hoped the work would fetch a price in the millions, and promote the idea of thinking of an album as a museum-quality work of art. They even floated the possibility of having the album tour museums like an exhibit, taking extra security precautions to ensure that no illicit recording devices would be used to capture and disseminate the music. Initially Wu-Tang attached stipulations to the sale, namely that the buyer would have to wait 88 years before publicly sharing the album for mass consumption. However, they later relented and agreed to make the sale as long as the owner didn’t sell it.
That allows for the chance that “Once Upon A Time in Shaolin” could be available for free download, but what are the odds that a guy who overnight raised the price of an $13.50 pill to $750 would be so magnanimous? It’s more likely he’s simply planning his next bit of trolling.