In a world where Neil Young is trying to sell an MP3 player for $399, and Taylor Swift sees selfies as a form of currency, the Wu-Tang Clan's RZA wants to sell the group's latest album inside a portable speaker. The legendary rap group has partnered with speaker company Boombotix to come up with a wearable speaker that has eight of the songs from Wu-Tang's upcoming album, A Better Tomorrow included, along with an exclusive bonus track. The entire package will actually be available in November before the album is released. If there's one catch to all this, it's that only 1,000 of the $79.99 speakers are being sold through Boombotix's site, with another 2,000 that will be sold in Zumiez stores (yes, that Zumiez). After that, you'll have to wait until the album is out for real.
Only 3,000 speakers are being made
According to Boombotix CEO Lief Storer, the project required reengineering one of its Boombot speakers, which normally just receive music over Bluetooth, to work as a standalone portable music player. That involved adding flash memory and a file management system to store the tracks.
In an interview with Billboard, Wu-Tang Clan member Robert "RZA" Diggs says the entire project is a response to the end of music being a physical item these days (except for vinyl, obviously).
"I had the idea pop up into my head, for a while, about music being kind of disconnected to us. Of being so digitized and accessible, but yet not tangible," Diggs told Billboard. "But this thing here, a tangible item, like your old Walkman or your old cassette, or your old record, that's what this is bringing back."
The new album, which Diggs says took 18 months to finish, is not to be confused with The Wu — Once Upon a Time In Shaolin, the one the group only made one copy of, and plans to tour as a museum piece. Bidders reportedly offered up $5 million to purchase that album, something a failed Kickstarter effort attempted to do on its own, but with an end goal of distributing the music to investors.