Wu-Tang Clan’s Shaolin Album, The Only Single Copy, Sold For Millions

Wu-Tang Clan’s Shaolin Album, The Only Single Copy, Sold For Millions
Wu-Tang Clan, Way Out West Niklas Hellerstedt / Flickr CC BY 2.0
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The single physical copy of Wu-Tang Clan’s secret album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, has been sold, Forbes reports.


Forbes reported the sale through an online auction house, Paddle8. It was sold to a “private American collector” for a price of somewhere in the millions. While the exact amount has not been disclosed by the auction house, it said that it was enough to make Once Upon a Time in Shaolin the highest-fetching single album ever sold. The previous record was held by a rare version of Elvis Presley’s first song, which was bought by Jack White for $300,000 in January this year.

Although the sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was made in May, Wu-Tang Clan and the buyer had to sort out the contractual language and protections related to the album.

“The idea that music is art has been something we advocated for years,” RZA said last year. “And yet it doesn’t receive the same treatment as art in the sense of the value of what it is, especially nowadays when it’s been devalued and diminished to almost the point that it has to be given away for free.”

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According to the Verge, the language in the contract dictates that the album cannot be released commercially for nearly a century. Although the buyer has the governing authority to do whatever they want after that period expires, certain artists associated with the album suggested that it be taken on a “listening tour” internationally.

In a statement, Alexander Gilkes, Paddle8 cofounder, said, “We pioneered a new type of intellectual property regarding the sale of a work that is simultaneously physical and digital. This marks an exciting new model of distribution for the music world and we look forward to playing an ongoing role in this innovative model.”