Martin Shkreli, the man who jacked up the price of an AIDS drug to $750 from $13.50 a pill, bought the only copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s latest album. Then, just to spite the fans of the group, he live streamed a video of himself but refused them a chance to listen to the music.
It recently became known that the mystery buyer of Wu-Tang’s latest album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, of which there is only one known copy, was Martin Shkreli, the controversial pharmaceutical executive who raised the price of a key drug by 5,000 percent, reported Mashable. Martin Shkreli is the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, the company that became the symbol of shameless corporate profit mongering after jacking the price of an antiparasitic drug from $13.50 to $750 a pill.
According to Bloomberg, Shkreli was revealed as the buyer of the super-rare LP. Shkreli later confirmed the news on Twitter.
Wu Tan Clan's GZA, a.k.a. "The Genius", a.k.a. Gary Grice, visited TTU-NWI as part of Science Genius. pic.twitter.com/Vk77vL6xnX
— TTU NWI (@TTUwind) November 23, 2015
What’s even worse is that Shkreli then live-streamed himself. Initially, he said, “May play something special,” hinting he might just offer the fans of Wu a once-in-a-lifetime chance to listen to the album. While eager fans lined up, Shkreli subjected them to a live stream of rambling banter and screamo songs, reported the New York Daily News.
The rap group announced last month that they would auction the sole copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The album contains 31 tracks and features the group’s original members.
What makes it more enticing, besides the fact that only a single copy will ever be released, is that the album came packed in an exquisite hand-crafted box made of silver and nickel. The package also has a leather-bound lyric book.
Ensuring whoever bought the album, remained its super exclusive owner, the group confirmed the album wouldn’t be released to the public for at least 88 years.
Explaining what it is to own the album, RZA, the group’s leader said, “It is a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music. We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.”
It was rumored that filmmaker Quentin Tarantino or the venture capitalist-cum-hip hop fan Ben Horowitz would be the owners of the extremely rare album, but it turned out Martin Shkreli, “the most hated man on the internet,” bought the album. Reports indicate Shkreli paid about $2 million for the album but chose not to listen to it. Though he still hasn’t listened to it, much to the chagrin of Wu-Tang Clan’s fans, he chose not to share it with them and further rubbed salt on their wounds by live-streaming himself while he rambled on. Shkreli told a live YouTube audience on Wednesday that they would never get the chance to own the music themselves.
When asked about it, he said, “Naw, I’m not going to release the album. Why would I pay millions of dollars just to let everyone listen to it for free?”
As if the news hadn’t depressed the fans of Wu-Tang Clan, Shkreli then asked viewers to help him come up with a list of artists who he should pay to create one-of-a-kind albums, just for him.
Poll suggestions: which artist should I now approach to buy my next private album from?
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 9, 2015
— STREET LIFE SLIZZY (@SlumTheResident) November 21, 2015
“That one band that won’t get back together. That reclusive artist that no one’s heard in a long time,” he added.
— Brian Ries (@moneyries) December 9, 2015
Wu’s fans have let their disappointment known on Twitter, calling out the group and questioning them about their choice of buyer.
@RZA Why would you allow the record to sell to such an awful human being? Only thing I want to know.
— Shane Simon (@Shane_Simon) December 9, 2015
incidentally, the sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was finalized in May, before Martin Shkreli’s unethical, but unfortunately legal, business practices came to light, mentioned RZA in response, reported MSN. He added that a significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album has been forwarded to charity.
[Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]