Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli has made quite a name for himself this year, astronomically ratcheting up the cost of the anti-parasitic drug Daraprim and, per a lawsuit, being a real shit. Now he’s the proud owner of the sole copy of a priceless Wu-Tang album, because nothing in this world is fair.

Bloomberg has the story about how Shkreli outbid all comers for the record, called Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Wu-Tang pressed just one copy of the record, then stored it in a vault in a hotel in Morocco; it was then auctioned off through the auction house Paddle8 to the highest bidder in late November. From Stereogum:

The [Paddle8] site contains a Q&A with key contributors, and among the revelations is that the eventual buyer won’t be allowed to publicly release the album for 88 years according to copyright law. He or she can tour the album around the world and host listening sessions, but they aren’t allowed to reproduce it for sale

At the time, the bidder’s identity was a secret, setting off intense speculation. But of course, wouldn’t you know it, it was this fucking guy. Shkreli fancies himself a bit of a music buff lately, per Bloomberg, in that he likes acquiring objects related to music:

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Now that Shkreli had more money, he started collecting music-related items. He once joked on Twitter about trying to buy Katy Perry’s guitar so he could get a date with her. He purchased Kurt Cobain’s Visa card in a Paddle8 auction and occasionally produces it to get a rise out of people when it’s time to pay a check.

Shkreli heard about Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and thought it would be nice to own, too. He attended a private listening session at the Standard Hotel hosted by Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes. Shkreli, who describes himself as a bit of a recluse, recalls Gilkes telling him that if he bought the record, he would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and rappers who would want to hear it. “Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer,” Shkreli says. (Paddle8 declined to comment, citing their policy of client confidentiality.) He also got to have lunch with RZA. “We didn’t have a ton in common,” Shkreli says. “I can’t say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him.”

Shkreli, additionally, “wants more artists to make private albums for him. He figures they could use the money, and he will let them do whatever they want.” Great!

Wu-Tang seems less-than-enthusiastic on the identity of their buyer, issuing a tepid statement to Bloomberg: “The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Skhreli’s [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.” A source told Bloomberg the sale was roughly $2 million.

Shkreli tells Bloomberg he hasn’t listened to the record yet. Of course he hasn’t.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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Screengrab via YouTube/CNBC