There's truly a Kickstarter project for just about everything. Case in point: a new fundraising effort to pool together $5 million to buy the upcoming Wu-Tang Clan album, which the group is planning make available to only one lucky person. Last month, Wu-Tang Clan member Robert "RZA" Diggs described the album, called The Wu — Once Upon a Time In Shaolin, as a true collectors item, something equivalent to "having the scepter of an Egyptian king." The group's already been offered $5 million for it, putting it well out of the reach of normal humans. And that's not sitting well with two 20-somethings from California and Utah, who have taken to Kickstarter to raise those funds collectively, then distribute the album to backers:
For all the fans who won't be able to pay 30-50 bucks to listen to a double album in one sitting, let's raise enough money to buy this album and then turn around and give it away for free. Wu members can still get their CREAM and the rest of us get to enjoy an epic album instead of some uber rich bastard keeping it to himself like a collector's item.
As the founder of this group I pledge to not keep a single penny of the money raised. Every cent will be bid to win the album. If we don't get it then everyone gets their money back.
So far that plea has brought in $695 from more than 131 backers, a very small chunk on the way to the $5 million goal. If the goal isn't met, that money goes back to the backers. In an interview with DNA Info, project creators Russell Meyer and Calvin Okoth-Obbo say they "can't imagine" Diggs getting upset about the effort, despite the potential legal issues that could come from redistributing the music. The pair also said they'd plan to raffle off the physical copy of the album to those who backed the project.
Legal issues are an afterthought
The original plan for the album, which was announced last month, involved taking it on a world tour, similar to famous pieces of art. That included plans for a "listening event," the likes of a concert, but through headphones. It would then be turned over to the highest bidder, complete with its unique packaging, a silver and nickel box created by artist Yahya.
This isn't the only Kickstarter effort to make expensive music available to the masses. Last week electronic music artist Richard D. James (who goes by Aphex Twin) agreed to make a lossless digital rip of his $13,500 double album available to backers who pledged at least $16 to a related Kickstarter campaign. That's a far smaller mountain to climb than the $5 million the new Wu-Tang album might end up costing.
Update April 17th, 9:05PM: To note that backers get their money back if the funds are not raised, and that the physical copy of the album could be given away in a raffle. The current funding amount and number of backers was also updated.