Martin Shkreli​ Paid $2 Million For Wu-Tang Clan's One-Of-A-Kind Album

by Sean Levinson
Getty Images

The owner of a new, one-of-a-kind album by Wu-Tang Clan was revealed as, arguably, one of the most hated men on the Internet.

According to Bloomberg, RZA, a founding member of the rap group, announced in March 2014 the Wu-Tang Clan would make just one copy of its next album and sell it to the highest bidder.

Kept in a hand-carved box, the 31-track album titled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin comes with a leather-bound book featuring 174 pages of song lyrics and background information.

The album was sold late last month after about six months of "finalizing contracts and devising legal protections for a distinctive work whose value depends on its singularity," a press release said.

RZA told Bloomberg bidders included "private collectors, trophy hunters, millionaires, billionaires, unknown folks, publicly known folks, businesses, companies with commercial intent, young, old."

Those with the highest offers were awarded a 13-minute snippet of the album's key moments.

One of these bidders was pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, 32, who garnered worldwide condemnation in September for raising the price of an AIDS medication from $13.50 a pill to $750.

He decided he would have to own Once Upon a Time in Shaolin after learning it would grant him friendships with celebrities.

Shkreli said of RZA,

We didn't have a ton in common. I can't say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him.

Neither the buyer nor seller confirmed the official price, but a source reportedly close to the transaction said Shkreli paid $2 million.

RZA made a point to note Shkreli purchased the album before his despicable price-gouging tactics were exposed.

A "significant portion of the proceeds" went to charity, the rapper said.

Shkreli is the owner of a Visa card that belonged to Kurt Cobain and previously joked about buying Katy Perry's guitar so she would go out with him.

He told Bloomberg he is yet to listen to the album since he intends to save it for a particularly depressing day.

Shkreli said,

I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that. But for now, I think I'm going to kind of save it for a rainy day.

As for the AIDS medication, Shkreli maintained he was simply doing his job by increasing profits for investors.

Citations: WHO BOUGHT THE MOST EXPENSIVE ALBUM EVER MADE? (Bloomberg), Wu-Tang Clan completes sale of one-of-a-kind album Once Upon A Time in Shaolin… through Paddle8 (Paddle8)