Brilliant. Triumphant. Visionary. Shrewd. Awesome to the Infinite Power. Rare.
"We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king.” - @RZA
Wu-Tang Clan will have my loyalty evermore. My love and respect for these talented men is just that deep.
When news hit in late March that Wu-Tang Clan would be releasing a new album called 'A Better Tomorrow' I was nervously excited. After 2 releases in 2000 and 2001 that didn't dominate my world as expected and then the release of 8 Diagrams in 2007 (meh), I was just left wanting another Wu masterpiece. So just hearing news of another unheralded new Wu-Tang album wasn't enough.
Alas, leave it to the Wu-Tang Clan to switch up my whole mentality with the quickness. My brain lit up when I heard the rest of the announcement: Wu-Tang will release second album this year entitled 'The Wu - Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' that will sound like classic 90's Wu, be housed in an ornate box, and only be produced as a single copy that will be sold to the highest bidder. Everyone else won't be totally iced out though. The album will go on a tour of art galleries, museums, and music festivals where us Wu heads without a $5+ million in disposable income can experience the album as the Wu actually intended. So from the majestic mind of the Rza, Wu-Tang basically created a potential masterpiece, initiated a cultural shift, developed a new business plan, resisted the constant devaluation of music and artists perpetrated by the music corporates who push disposable tunes as opposed to musical art, and have given me a whole lot to think about.
This album release platform is great cultural experiment and disruptive project. As a music lover and art collector, I definitely cherish my favorite musical works as much as my most prized art from a pure perspective of how much they move me, but there is something to be said for the special connection you feel when you own an original. Rarity is an inherent value in-and-of itself. Your experiences are uniquely yours though. So when I attend one of the shows, I will be able to take away my own special rare unique Wu-Tang masterpiece.
Check out this Forbes article which details the release here.
Visit the this manifesto site by the Rza and Cilvaringz.
Now here are some of the questions this novel release strategy for 'Once Upon a Time in Shaolin' has me pondering?
- What happened to the '36 Chambers' 20th Anniversary release? The anniversary has come and gone so is this a replacement?
- Is it possible to keep this album from leaking before it is sold?
- What else can I learn about Cilvaringz?
- What is the offer solicitation/review process like?
- Is this album going to be good?
- Should Wu-Tang lose credibility because this is a stunt?
- Why is music not valued in the same level as fine art? Is this a good thing?
- What devalued music? Can it be reversed? Is this one way how?
- Can they all get along?
- How has the money divided among the Wu-Tang members in the past?
- What is Rza's net worth? What about Cappadonna?
- Is the group inspired by anything besides money now?
- What in the world could these guys have in mind for the listening "experience?"
- What will the purchase agreement look like?
- If it works well, will other artists replicate or is this uniquely Wu?
- Will this really happen?
Ok- I'll stop there for now.
As you can tell, I thnk this is just fascinating. Yes it's all speculation now, but my interest is piqued, and I know these are the man to execute this right now. Look for me to create another blog post where I all through what the actual purchase agreement could/should look like.