View Full Version : I wouldn't usually start a thread about the Wu Tang Clan ...

G'day Mate
March 26th, 2014, 02:12 PM
... but this idea (http://mobile.theverge.com/2014/3/26/5550260/wu-tang-clan-will-only-sell-a-single-copy-of-their-new-album) is kinda interesting.

Wu-Tang Clan will only sell a single copy of their new album

As music sales have dwindled over the years, artists have increasingly turned to making special editions of their albums to entice hardcore fans to spend more hard-earned cash but there's never been an album quite like what Wu-Tang Clan is cooking up. In addition to releasing a 20th anniversary album this summer called A Better Tomorrow, the hip-hop collective also recorded a double album in secret over the last two years and is only releasing one single copy of it.

As reported by Forbes, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin will be encased in a silver and nickel box crafted by British-Moroccan artist Yahya and will probably sell for millions of dollars. However, before it is sold, the one-of-a-kind album will tour the world as many other famous pieces of art do, with stops at museums, galleries, and potentially music festivals. Fans will be charged a cost to attend a "listening event," where they'll get a chance to hear the album on headphones after being carefully screened for recording materials.


"We're about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music," says Wu-Tang Clan member Robert "RZA" Diggs. "We're making a single-sale collector's item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king."

Once that exhibition tour is complete, Wu-Tang Clan will sell the album for an unspecified price in the millions of dollars from there, its owner will be free to do what it wants with it. While it's too early to say who will shell out the cash for this unique item, Forbes speculates that brands may be interested in the cachet of having this exclusive album; another option may include a wealthy collector purchasing it and either liberating the audio for the masses or keeping the songs for themselves.

"The idea that music is art has been something we advocated for years," says RZA. "And yet its 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." Whether or not Wu-Tang Clan is able to find enough people who want to go experience their album in a museum to make an impact remains to be seen as does the viability of a multi-million dollar unique pressing of that album, but the group is OK with its plan going awry. "It might totally flop, and we might be completely ridiculed," says co-producer Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh "But the essence and core of our ideas is to inspire creation and originality and debate, and save the music album from dying."

March 26th, 2014, 02:27 PM
Not sure how to react to that, but my gut instinct is that someone declaring their own artwork to be superspecial inherently means it will not be.

What I suspect will be more valuable than the album are the master digital tracks that some underpaid studio employee will leak. Heh.

Sad, little man
March 26th, 2014, 02:27 PM
Yeah, I was about to post this too. I'm not a fan of them either, but it's a neat idea... Not really for the sheer fact that there's only one copy being made, but for the fact that whoever buys it will appear to own the rights to the music from there on out. It's just too bad that you know that it will be some record label that buys it and makes a killing on releasing it.

Also, I'm highly suspect that they can actually take it around to museums without a recording of it leaking out.

Edit: tsg, I'm sure they will keep close control over it during the manufacture of the album, it's the notion that they could exhibit it all over the country without someone recording it that's dubious.

March 26th, 2014, 02:56 PM
Tons of high profile media (movies, tv, music) has been leaked in the past few years and they were all going to be in wide release eventually. This will absolutely (ostensibly) never be in wide release, so the pressure to leak it will be enormous. While I'm sure they will be take abnormal precautions to protect the content that isn't a guarantee of success. Certainly, that prospect doesn't diminish the possibility of someone recording it at an exhibit, but it's a real possibility nonetheless. Assuming this record existed digitally at some point (and in 2014 it's almost assured that it did), the opportunities for it to be pirated are endless.

Sad, little man
March 26th, 2014, 03:23 PM
You're nullifying any and all extraordinary measures they may take to keep it from leaking by saying it's not a guarantee of success. Well of course it's not a guarantee of success. Nothing is guaranteed. But that doesn't just render useless any precautions they might take to keep it from leaking.

I would agree that the music will probably exist digitally at some point. But that has nothing to do with it being 2014. If it were a more traditional artist doing this, the fact that they only have to make one copy of this would actually make it extremely easy to make the album without a digital recording of it. (I'm assuming this one copy will be a record.) You would just record it to an analog tape, and cut the master disc directly from that. In fact it seems like it would be pointless to have a digital copy at all. No CDs to produce, don't have to put it on iTunes, why even bother ever having it in a digital form?

However, being that this is the Wu Tang Clan, the music itself probably relies on digital effects, so it would have to be digital at some point for this reason.

Either way, it doesn't matter much if it's digital anyway. Just control who has access to the music, and limit it to a small number of people that can be trusted with it.

Frankly, I doubt there are a whole lot of completely ironclad safeguards preventing most albums from leaking. But when you're talking about the entire concept of releasing the album being dependent on it not leaking, I don't think it would be that hard to ensure it doesn't leak.

MR2 Fan
March 26th, 2014, 03:28 PM
I wouldn't usually start a thread about the Wu Tang Clan ...

... but this idea is kinda interesting.

Seems like their marketing idea is working then, but then the question is, what are they marketing with only one copy?

Sad, little man
March 26th, 2014, 03:32 PM
To increase museum ticket sales. :D

March 27th, 2014, 12:44 AM
I think the biggest reaction to this will be "I'll probably never hear it, I don't give a fuck".

Then it'll get leaked and people will compare it unfavourably to 36 Chambers, just like all the other Wu albums.

Rare White Ape
March 27th, 2014, 03:40 AM
I don't know what museums are like all over the world, but whenever I go to museums I get to see great works of art for free.

And lots of people can see it at the same time and they can look up images of the work on Google and nobody bats an eyelid.

March 27th, 2014, 05:43 AM
Are they trying to out Kanye Kanye? Cause this really sounds like something he would do.

March 27th, 2014, 07:09 AM
Meh. Some collector will buy it and lock it in a vault somewhere.

Or it will get leaked on the interweb somehow.

March 27th, 2014, 07:12 AM
Wu Tang For NEVER.

March 27th, 2014, 08:20 AM
Single album is way too risky IMHO. They should just advertise like Ferrari that only a limited copies will be sold... and then slowly sell them one by one on ebay or something.

But they might as well sell their stained underwear like that in auction. Are they really sure rich people will be collecting their shit?

March 27th, 2014, 08:59 AM
Publicity stunts are stunts for publicity.

March 27th, 2014, 09:11 AM
And more often than not leaks are not really leaks, right Showtime?

G'day Mate
March 27th, 2014, 02:50 PM
Whether it's any good, gets leaked, people show up for listenings, they get masturbatory RSI or any of that are just details to me. I simply like the fact that someone out there is trying something a bit different.

March 27th, 2014, 09:45 PM
You mean like a card game where is Nazis vs. Russians and the Nazis are all sexy anime chicks?

March 28th, 2014, 02:23 AM
Whether it's any good, gets leaked, people show up for listenings, they get masturbatory RSI or any of that are just details to me. I simply like the fact that someone out there is trying something a bit different.

It's possible for 'different' to be 'pointless'. As in this example.

G'day Mate
March 28th, 2014, 02:17 PM
Do you mean pointless because it's a bad concept or pointless because it's doomed to fail?

March 28th, 2014, 02:36 PM

March 28th, 2014, 02:38 PM
Do you mean pointless because it's a bad concept or pointless because it's doomed to fail?

Pointless because it's pointless. It'll either get leaked or it won't. Nobody else will care.

Rare White Ape
March 28th, 2014, 02:50 PM
They're also having a winge over a huge non-issue regarding paying for music.

Good music is still good music, no matter how much a good artist will earn from it.

And shit music will still be shit music.

They, like Metallica before them, are losing the battle for relevance.