The legendary one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin has a new owner, and they’ve finally stepped forward. PleasrDAO, one of many Digital Autonomous Organizations created in the wake of the 2021 NFT bullrun, announced Oct. 20 that it struck a deal with the U.S. government on July 15, 2021, and obtained the album for $4 million.
Once the property of convicted pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin has not only found a new home, but new life with PleasrDAO. Created between 2008 and 2013, and sold at auction in 2015, the government seized the album as part of a $7.4 million asset forfeiture following Shkreli’s criminal conviction.
Aquiring the most expensive work of music in history apparently took a group effort. As Wu-Tang producer Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh and group leader RZA retained IP and other rights in the album, their cooperation was an important part of orchestrating the deal.
In working with both the U.S. Government and Wu-Tang rights holders, PleasrDAO joined forces with NFT consultancy group 6 Agency — headed by Grammy winner DJ RAC, Georgio Constantinou and Jesse Grushack — for the multimillion dollar purchase.
“This album is one of the most significant chapters in modern music history, ushering in the concept of scarcity in music, which has continued to build its way into digital art,” Georgio Constantinou of 6 Agency said in a statement to nft now. “Guiding the album into the hands of a DAO gives us hope and excitement about the world of collective ownership, and we were honored to have played a part in the next chapter of this story.”
Though the anonymous sale was made public in July, PleasrDAO has kept its involvement under wraps until now. With the news finally public, PleasrDAO has revealed that in collaboration with 6 Agency, they’ve minted an ownership deed ahead of the sale, forever solidifying the transfer of ownership on the Ethereum blockchain.
Although PleasrDAO has noted their binding legal agreement prohibits them from duplicating or sharing music from the album digitally, they stated their intention via a blog post to look at the future of the album through a Web 3.0 perspective. “We firmly believe there are ways to share this musical masterpiece with the world,” shared PleasrDAO. “A lot of things in life are temporary, fleeting, impermanent. But remember this — just like our blockchain, Wu Tang is forever.”
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Photos courtesy of Ilja Meefout/SCLUZAY.