Ever since The Wu-Tang Clan announced that they'd be making a one of a kind record titled Once Upon a Time In Shaolin, there's been a lot of speculation as to who would be the buyer of the million dollar record. Previously, there was a Kickstarter that hoped to buy the album and destroy it. Then, the biggest lead seemed to be Quentin Tarantino, long time Wu-Tang fan, but the actual buyer is far less exciting. Bloomberg Business profiled the record's release and buying process, and revealed that Martin Shkreli, noted emo enthusiast and the guy that jacked up the price of the AIDS drug to $750 a pill, is the buyer of the album.
"Shkreli heard about Once Upon a Time in Shaolin and thought it would be nice to own, too. He attended a private listening session at the Standard Hotel hosted by Paddle8 co-founder Alexander Gilkes. Shkreli, who describes himself as a bit of a recluse, recalls Gilkes telling him that if he bought the record, he would have the opportunity to rub shoulders with celebrities and rappers who would want to hear it. “Then I really became convinced that I should be the buyer,” Shkreli says. (Paddle8 declined to comment, citing their policy of client confidentiality.) He also got to have lunch with RZA. “We didn’t have a ton in common,” Shkreli says. “I can’t say I got to know him that well, but I obviously like him.”
Shkreli also went into detail about the controversy he faced after raising the price of the drug.
"Shkreli seems mildly amused by the controversy. He says it’s his duty as Turing CEO to maximize profits for his investors. “What’s escaped the conversation is, hey, how about the fact that this is actually what I’ve been hired to do,” Shkreli says. “It’s like someone criticizing a basketball player for scoring too many points.” He adds that he’s tried to make Daraprim more easily available to hospitals. Meanwhile, he’s been pranking his critics. In October, he donated $2,700 to Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s rival, which the campaign donated to a Washington health-care facility. Shkreli then applied for an internship on the Vermont senator’s campaign. “I enjoy the back and forth,” he says."
Most of all, he worried that raising the price would affect Wu-Tang selling the album to him.
"Shkreli seems more concerned about how the Wu-Tang Clan would react to the Daraprim dispute. “I was a little worried that they were going to walk out of the deal,” he says. “But by then we’d closed. The whole kind of thing since then has been just kind of ‘Well, do we want to announce it’s him? Do we not want to announce it’s him?’ I think they were trying to cover their butts a little bit.” Paddle8 says it doesn’t disclose client information."
Worst of all, he hasn't even heard the record yet, waiting for an opportunity to break it out.
"He hasn’t listened to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin yet. He’s saving that for a time when he’s feeling low and needs something to lift his spirits. “I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that,” Shkreli says. “But for now, I think I’m going to kind of save it for a rainy day.”
And in true Shkreli fashion, he tweeted the following:
If there is a curious gap in your favorite artist's discography, well, now you know why.
— Martin Shkreli (@MartinShkreli) December 9, 2015
Read the fascinating full story at Bloomberg Business.
UPDATE: Martin is now broadcasting live on YouTube, making a list of artists he'd pay to release an album just for him. Go tell him what you think!