Martin Shkreli may finally release the one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, that he purchased back in 2015. The widely despised pharma bro has listed the album on eBay and is currently taking bids. At the time of publish, offers are hovering around $100,000.
The sale includes the double CD and a “finely crafted booklet,” as well as legal expenses up to $25,000 “to ensure the final purchase details are mutually agreeable.” In the listing, spotted by Page Six, Shkreli writes that he “decided to purchase this album as a gift to the Wu-Tang Clan for their tremendous musical output. Instead I received scorn from at least one of their (least-intelligent) members, and the world at large failed to see my purpose of putting a serious value behind music. I will be curious to see if the world values music nearly as much as I have.” Shkreli claims that he will donate half of the sale proceeds to medical research.
Only a single copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin exists. Shkreli — who is best known as the pharmaceutical exec who jacked up the prices on lifesaving drugs — purchased the album in 2015 for $2 million. The status of the album has been a longtime topic of interest; after Shkreli’s arrest later that year, even the FBI had to clarify that they didn’t have it. Over the years, he’s occasionally streamed it (in poor quality) online, including after his August conviction for two counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Shkreli says he hopes “someone with a bigger heart for music can be found for this one-of-a-kind piece and makes it available for the world to hear.” Given his threats to “fucking snap the CD on fucking TV and not even listen to it” in the past, however, the sincerity of his statement isn’t convincing. And then there’s the listing itself, in which Shkreli notes that “at any time I may cancel this sale and I may even break this album in frustration.” Even with the right bidder, it’s doubtful that this album will ever escape unscathed. The whole thing reeks of an attention-grabbing stunt — one last hurrah before sentencing, where he faces years in prison.