The rap legends claim to have a $5 million bid already on the one and only copy of their next album as its heads to auction.
Fans have been waiting for a Wu-Tang Clan reunion record since 2007 — but would one pay millions to hear it? That's what the rap group is counting on by manufacturing only one copy of its new 31-track album, "The Wu — Once Upon a Time in Shaolin." "Offers have come in at $2 million; somebody offered $5 million," Wu-Tang's leader, RZA, tells Billboard. "I don't know how to measure it, but it gives us an idea that what we're doing is being understood."
The concept of the one-off, one-of-a-kind record is as old as the phonograph itself (before mass production, every record was by necessity a unique performance). But there's no question that Wu-Tang Clan has turned the idea — as well as the entire model of creators' compensation — on its ear with its forthcoming release, recorded in secret during the past six years. Housed in a hand-carved silver-and-nickel box by British-Moroccan artist Yahya, the album, which currently resides under heavy security in Morocco, will go on a museum tour where paying attendees will be able to hear it — after being screened by security to avoid leaks. It will then be sold to the highest bidder. The idea is, in part, a reaction to the devaluation of music on the Internet (album sales have declined by around 50 percent in the last decade, according to the RIAA), offering exclusivity as opposed to mass-market appeal. But it has also garnered Wu-Tang Clan, decades removed from its 1990s heyday, more buzz than it has received in years.