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Thread: Once Upon A Time In Shaolin

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.


    World's rarest album to go on display in Australia
    13 hours ago
    Tiffanie Turnbull,
    BBC News, Sydney

    The album is the most expensive ever sold
    An album so rare and valuable that only a few ears have ever listened to it is set to go on display at an Australian gallery, giving the public a taste of the uber-exclusive tracks.
    Housed in an ornate silver box, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin - recorded in secret by the Wu-Tang Clan over six years - was designed to be a piece of fine art. Only a single CD copy exists.
    The record by the pioneering hip-hop group is the most expensive ever sold. Currently, it is on loan to Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (Mona).
    Over 10 days in June, Mona will host small listening parties where members of the public can hear a curated, 30-minute sample of the album.
    The album is part of its Namedropping exhibition, which examines status, notoriety and "the human pursuit".
    "Every once in a while, an object on this planet possesses mystical properties that transcend its material circumstances," said Mona Director of Curatorial Affairs Jarrod Rawlins.
    "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is more than just an album, so... I knew I had to get it into this exhibition."
    Formed in Staten Island in the early '90s, Wu-Tang Clan is said to have revolutionised hip-hop forever - but is also known for their violent and sexually explicit lyrics.
    Recorded in New York City and produced in Marrakesh between 2006 and 2013, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin includes the nine surviving members of the group - and features pop artist Cher and Game of Thrones actress Carice Van Houten.
    How Wu-Tang Clan revolutionised hip-hop forever
    The group felt the value of music had been cheapened by online streaming and piracy, and wanted to take "a 400-year-old Renaissance-style approach to music, offering it as a commissioned commodity".
    It includes a hand-carved nickel box and a leather-bound manuscript containing lyrics and a certificate of authenticity - and a legal condition that the owner cannot release the 31 tracks for 88 years.
    Producer RZA likened it to a Picasso artwork, or an ancient Egyptian artefact.
    "It's a unique original rather than a master copy of an album," he said when the album went on sale in 2015.
    As a result, only a handful of people on the planet have heard snippets of the 31 tracks.
    A group of potential buyers and media heard a 13-minute section in 2015, and disgraced drug firm executive Martin Shkreli - who bought the album for $2m (£1.6m, A$3m) - streamed clips of the music on YouTube to celebrate Donald Trump's 2016 election victory.
    Shkreli was later forced to hand it over to US prosecutors in 2018 after being convicted of defrauding investors, and it was then sold to digital art collective Pleasr.
    In a statement, Pleasr said the Mona listening parties - which will run between 15 and 24 June - helped realise the group's "bold vision to make a single copy album as a work of fine art".
    Mona is known for its provocative exhibitions - a recent one called the Ladies Lounge drew international attention after it became the centre of a high-profile anti-discrimination case.
    This is getting back to RZA's original vision for this.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    This story just keeps delivering...

    ...the mark of true art!

    PleasrDAO sues Martin Shkreli for allegedly copying Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’

    ArtReviewNews 13 June 2024

    Martin Shkreli, 2016. Photo: Public Domain
    Martin Shkreli has been sued by PleasrDAO for allegedly creating a copy of the one-of-a-kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (2015) by American rap group Wu-Tang Clan. PleasrDAO, a collective of digital art collectors, purchased the album in 2021 for $4.75 million from the US government, who owned Shkreli’s assets followed the disgraced businessman’s 2015 conviction of financial crimes and £70 million fines.

    In their lawsuit, PleasrDAO asserts ‘Shkreli improperly retained copies of the data and files at the time of the forfeiture and has released and/or intends to release them to the public. Such actions would cause PleasrDAO to incur significant monetary and irreparable harm and give rise to numerous claims for relief under the forfeiture order and common law.’

    Wu-Tang Clan, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, 2015. Photo: Museum of New and Old Art, Tasmania.
    Following Shkreli’s release from prison, where he served almost six and a half years of a seven-year sentence, he held a livestream ‘listening party’ in which he played Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for his followers, saying “Yeah, that’s the Wu-Tang album for all you crazy streamer people”. On another streaming occasion, Shkreli said, “of course” he made copies. “I’m not stupid,” he told his followers, “I don’t buy something for $2 million just so I can keep one copy.”

    Earlier this year, Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) released free and timed tickets to listen to a 30-minute excerpt of the 31-track album, available to the public for the first time. The sold out exhibition runs 15–24 June.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    To be released via encrypted NFTs

    Wu-Tang Clan's Secret 'Shaolin' Album Will Be Sold via $1 NFTs on Base

    Acquired for $4 million in 2021, the Wu-Tang Clan's exclusive album will be released via encrypted NFTs that unlock more tracks over time.

    By Sander Lutz
    Jun 13, 2024

    4 min read

    The sole physical copy of "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" on display during a listening session in New York last weekend. Courtesy: Pleasr

    In a curveball move, Pleasr, a crypto collective or DAO that collects objects of cultural relevance, announced on Thursday that it will soon begin selling encrypted, on-chain copies of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan record that Pleasr acquired in 2021 for $4 million.

    The encrypted album will be made available today via a dedicated website for $1, according to a press release shared with Decrypt. The NFTs will live on Base, the rising Ethereum layer-2 scaling network from Coinbase, and their distribution will be handled by Pleasr in collaboration with Privy, Crossmint, and Holograph.

    Thanks to the unique agreement crafted by the Wu-Tang Clan when they sold a single copy of the album in 2015, owners of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” were—until today—prohibited from commercially exploiting the record until 2103.

    Pleasr, however, told Decrypt it has been working with the album’s producers in secret, over the last six months, to get exclusive commercialization rights to as much music on the album as possible.

    Wu-Tang Clan's "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin" album. Photo: Pleasr

    So far, the DAO says it has managed to acquire rights to 16 of the 31 tracks on the album. It will now share progressively larger pieces of that selected library with purchasers of the encrypted album over time—effectively decrypting the album for holders, piece by piece.

    Pleasr members who helped negotiate the deal trace its significance back a decade ago, to when the Wu-Tang Clan sold a single copy of an album they produced in secret for six years, as a means of protesting what they saw as the broken model of valuing music in an increasingly digital world.

    “This album was created to question what it means to value music in the digital world,” Leighton Cusack, one of the founders of Pleasr, told Decrypt.

    Blockchain technology appears to many members of Pleasr as the answer to that question.

    “This is the new technology that lets us actually bring ownership back to the digital world,” Cusack continued. “And does that now make music valuable again?”

    Key to the “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” experiment is Pleasr’s expectation that many—if not most—purchasers of the on-chain album will be hip-hop fans, not die-hard crypto users.

    Matt Matkov, a Pleasr representative, emphasized that the purpose of the album release is to bring blockchain technology into the cultural mainstream—a feat that can only be achieved by engaging with the cultural mainstream itself.

    “The whole point is that this industry is entitled to its own financial system,” Matkov told Decrypt. “But if it wants to grow with Web2, it's not entitled to its own IP system.”

    A federal judge in Brooklyn has temporarily ordered infamous “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli to immediately cease playing copies of the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” The move came after the record’s current owners, the crypto collective PleasrDAO, filed a suit against Shkreli on Tuesday. PleasrDAO and Shkreli are set to meet in court later this month to debate the lawsuit, which alleges that by retaining copies of the album he previously owned and playing it for onl...

    To that end, the technology underlying the album’s release has been crafted to be as user-friendly as possible. The album will be purchasable by credit card or Apple Pay in an off-chain payment flow. Users will then have crypto wallets created for them, and the NFTs minted and deposited, in a process that will be mostly obfuscated for the user.

    The encrypted album will also be airdropped to certain lucky stockholders. Mostly as a nod to long-running rumors on Reddit that Pleasr planned to drop “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” to holders of popular meme stock GameStop (GME), holders of the popular meme stock who verify their position will be airdropped a free copy of the album.

    Central to the album’s release in this manner, PleasrDAO told Decrypt, was an understanding that the DAO would allow the producers and artists involved in the record to meaningfully profit from the work’s distribution.

    They will receive a cut of the revenue generated by sales of these encrypted albums; they will also be permitted to perform songs from the album in live venues and release the record on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music in the future (and gain royalties from those avenues as well).

    On Tuesday, Pleasr sued “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli for retaining copies of the album and playing them to online audiences. A federal judge has temporarily banned Shkreli from playing it.

    The DAO positioned Thursday's announcement as a rebuke to Shkreli’s treatment of “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.”

    “Our lawsuit was a last resort because Martin illegally released music without paying the artists whose work we agreed to steward,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “We will be legally releasing the music and ensuring the artists get paid in the process.”

    Edited by Andrew Hayward

    Editor's note: This story was updated after publication to clarify Matkov's role in Pleasr.
    Another unexpected turn. Brilliant.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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