The Business of Art Continued – Fuckbois!!!

So, with Martin Shkreli’s arrest on fraud charges… do you think he’s finally going to listen to the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin?

As I mentioned earlier… (The Business of Art – When a Fuckboi Buys Your Music)

The fuckboi Shkreli, according to Bloomberg, has yet to listen to the album he purchased for (supposedly) $2 million.

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 he’s since been arrested…

Martin Shkreli, a lightning rod for growing outrage over soaring prescription drug prices, was arrested in New York by the FBI on Thursday on securities fraud charges involving his former hedge fund and a pharmaceutical company he previously headed.

Shkreli, who is now chief executive officer of Turing Pharmaceuticals and KaloBios Pharmaceuticals Inc, was charged in a federal indictment related to his time managing hedge fund MSMB Capital Management and heading biopharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc.



So, the question for us concerned with art here is… what happens to the album? Has Shkreli listened to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin already in the time between his arrest and the original article? Is he going to listen to it now when he’s inevitably released on bail? What if he’s ordered to pay damages, do you think the album will come up for auction? What if the record and lyrics are seized and tied up in court for decades?

So what the hell is going to happen Once Upon a Time in Shaolin!??

Here’s an unintended consequence to the exclusive artwork business plan Wu-Tang Clan went with when making Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

I highly doubt any of them thought that the album may end up lost for years or decades… without anybody listening to it. I also don’t think many artists would be okay with that. While Wu-Tang Clan used exclusivity as a means of selling the album I feel like they had intended for at least the purchaser to listen to it.

But here we are.

From an art perspective, this is a shit hole.

From a business perspective, this might only increase the ultimate value of the album. A music company might just be able to purchase Once Upon a Time in Shaolin at auction and then distribute it freely to its users… in the process using Shkreli’s demise and Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’s exclusivity as free marketing.

Once again, I want to highlight just how different the business and art perspectives are. This should again be an illustration for you of just how difficult the business of art really is.



Update – Motherboard published an article shortly after I did apparently and it goes into more depth on the hypotheticals in this whole Shkreli arrested situation…

So what happens to Once Upon a Time in Shaolin now that Shkreli’s in cuffs? Motherboard reporter Kaleigh Rogers asked US Attorney Robert Capers in a press conference whether the FBI had seized the Wu-Tang album. “I wondered how long it was going to take to get to that,” Capers laughed. “I can’t comment on that. As I said, this investigation centers on his conduct as manager of these funds. We’re not aware of where he got the funds that he raised for the Wu-Tang album.”

OK, so the FBI haven’t seized the album. Yet.




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The Business of Art Continued – Fuckbois!!! by Jordan Wunderlich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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