By now we’ve all heard Wu-Tang’s plans for their fans – or really, just one incredibly lucky fan. They’re selling ONE copy of their latest project, The Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. Forbes broke the story back in March, and they’ve been following the hip-hop giant’s every move since.
And now they’ve followed them all the way to Morocco.
Wu-Tang’s search for the elusive buyer brought Forbes to Marrakesh, where those deemed most important flocked to the Royal Mansour Hotel (built by the King of Morocco for more than $1 billion) for the unveiling of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin. This was obviously not your mother’s listening party.
But the regal, fit-for-a-king listening experience goes beyond this larger than life moment – it’s a brilliant business venture that puts Wu Tang back at the top of their game, and they are using Forbes to keep them there.
It wasn’t Rolling Stone that had first dibs on this story – it was Forbes. It wasn’t just the top music journalists and industry insiders in Morocco last week – Forbes also had a seat at the table. Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, the album’s producer, gave Forbes an exclusive, 51-second clip of the album (you can watch the video here).
Wu Tang Clan’s plan is to bring music back to its original status: a form of high-end art. They’re hoping potential buyers will view In Shaolin as an investment in quality, as something that is so coveted in the art world that it must be superb.
Scores of fans are already feeling jilted by the group, wondering why their unwavering support is being rewarded with an album they’ll never hear. But Cilvaringz says that to be considered high art, you have to act like high art.
“Look at Beethoven, Bach, Mozart. You hold them in the same high esteem as a Rembrandt and van Gogh,” he says. “These people, you don’t really differentiate between them, you just say they’re great masters of the arts of that time. But today [musicians] don’t value their own work, they don’t value themselves first, and of course the market doesn’t value their work.”
It’s no wonder Wu-Tang turned to Forbes for press. They’re looking to change the way we play the music game. What do you think of this bold new move by the group—is it strategically genius or will it only serve to make loyal fans feel snubbed?