Wu Tang Clan's unique album becomes world's most expensive record
The world's only copy of the final Wu Tang Clan album has been sold for a seven figure sum by auction house Paddle 8.
The rap collective's 32-track album, recorded between 2006 and 2013, exists as a single album and was created as a statement on music and art in the 21st century.
The idea was to create a record as a unique work of art, with no physical or digital duplicates in existence. Presented in a hand-carved nickel-silver box, the recording was accompanied by a 174-page manuscript containing lyrics, credits, and anecdotes on the production of each song, printed on gilded Fedrigoni Marina parchment.
Having been stored in a vault at the Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco, the album was placed up for sale privately through auction house Paddle 8 in 2015.
Prior to the sale, Paddle 8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes had described the album as "a boundary-pushing masterpiece... a work of art that brings together the nine voices of the Wu-Tang Clan, perhaps for the last time."
Now the company has revealed that the recording has sold for a figure "in the millions" to a private collector, with an agreement that it cannot be commercially exploited until the year 2103. Although the exact figure is unknown, the record is now believed to the most expensive single album ever sold.
“Once Upon A Time in Shaolin aims to reverse the devaluation of music, to celebrate the album as a work of art that encompasses the creative energies of an ecosystem of artists, and to help return music to a fine-art status," said RZA, Wu-Tang Clan founding member.
“From the beginning, we hoped that this concept would inspire debate and new ways of seeing creativity. Both of those goals have been achieved, and the ideas continue to evolve.”
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