Wu-Tang Clan Secret Album Now Available As $1 NFT

Wu-Tang Clan Secret Album Now Available As $1 NFT

In a groundbreaking move, the Wu-Tang Clan’s elusive album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” is now available as a $1 NFT, marking a significant shift in the music and digital art landscape. This development comes courtesy of PleasrDAO, a digital art collective known for acquiring culturally significant digital artworks. The album, which was famously sold to Martin Shkreli in 2015 for $2 million, has been shrouded in mystery and controversy ever since.

PleasrDAO acquired the album from the U.S. government in 2021 for $4 million after Shkreli’s assets were seized following his conviction for securities fraud. The collective has since been working to democratize access to this unique piece of music history. The album is now available to the public as an NFT for just $1, a move that underscores the evolving nature of music ownership in the digital age.

The distribution of the album is being handled in collaboration with marketing and e-commerce platform Privy, as well as blockchain platforms Crossmint and Holograph. The NFTs are hosted on Base, a Layer 2 blockchain network developed by Coinbase, which offers a scalable and secure environment for decentralized applications.

The original sale of the album to Shkreli included a contract that restricted its public release for 88 years, setting an official release date in 2103. However, PleasrDAO has introduced an innovative mechanism where each $1 purchase reduces the waiting period by 88 seconds. While fans can access a five-minute sampler of the album, the full-length version remains under wraps for now. Notably, the purchase does not require cryptocurrency, making it accessible to a broader audience.

PleasrDAO has a history of acquiring and democratizing access to significant digital artworks, including the “Stay Free” NFT by Edward Snowden and the iconic Dogecoin artwork. Speaking to the New York Times, Camilla McFarland, a member of PleasrDAO, emphasized the collective’s mission to honor the original vision of artists while making their work accessible to the public.

The Wu-Tang Clan’s album has had a tumultuous history. Method Man, one of the group’s members, has been vocal about his dissatisfaction with the secretive nature of the album and its 88-year restriction. In a 2015 interview, he described the approach as “gimmicky” and criticized Cilvaringz, one of the album’s producers, for the lack of transparency.

Ghostface Killah, another member of the Wu-Tang Clan, also expressed his disappointment over Shkreli’s acquisition of the album. In an interview with The Guardian, he remarked that he was very disappointed and that everyone was mad about the sale. Despite the challenges, he remains hopeful that fans will eventually get to experience the album.

Fans currently have a rare opportunity to experience the album at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart, Tasmania, where it is on display until June 24. PleasrDAO has also conducted private listening sessions in New York, allowing a select few to hear the album before its general release.

Earlier this month, PleasrDAO initiated legal proceedings against Martin Shkreli, accusing him of unauthorized reproduction and public performance of the album. The lawsuit seeks to require Shkreli to destroy his copies of the album and pay damages for violating the original agreement and his forfeiture order.

The release of the album as an NFT is a significant step in the ongoing evolution of music ownership and distribution. Leighton Cusack, a founder of PleasrDAO, highlighted the album’s creation as a means to question the value of music in the digital world. By leveraging blockchain technology, PleasrDAO aims to bring ownership back to the digital realm and make music valuable again.

The NFTs can be purchased using credit cards or Apple Pay, making the process user-friendly and accessible to a wider audience. The album will also be airdropped to certain lucky stockholders, including holders of popular meme stock GameStop (GME), who verify their position.

PleasrDAO’s approach ensures that the producers and artists involved in the album will benefit from its distribution. They will receive a share of the revenue generated by the sales and will be allowed to perform songs from the album in live venues and release the record on streaming platforms in the future.

In a statement, PleasrDAO emphasized that their lawsuit against Shkreli was a last resort to protect the artists’ rights and ensure they are compensated for their work. The collective’s efforts to release the album legally and fairly stand in stark contrast to Shkreli’s actions.

The release of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” as a $1 NFT is a landmark moment in the intersection of music, art, and blockchain technology. It represents a new era of music ownership and distribution, one that honors the original vision of the artists while making their work accessible to a global audience.

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