Wu-Tang's New Album Has Insane Price Tag

by Kenya Foy

In a serious case of foreshadowing, we can now rest assured that in '93 when Wu-Tang proclaimed, "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)," they weren't simply creating a super-catchy acronym. After recently announcing that they'd only be releasing a single copy of their upcoming album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin , some deep pocket-having, charitable soul reportedly contacted them with an offer to purchase the piece of Wu-Tang artistry for $5 million.

At a lengthy 31 tracks, that comes out to a little over $161,000 per track, which adds up to enough coins to put a down payment on a trip to outer space.

Question is, what makes an album worth $5 million? Apparently Wu-Tang's RZA didn't have time to ponder that inquiry because he was too busy sifting through other multi-million dollar offers. He told Billboard:

Offers came in at $2 million, somebody offered $5 million yesterday. I've been getting a lot of e-mails: some from people I know, some from people I don't know, and they're also e-mailing other members of my organization.

Maybe I'm just jealous that no one's deemed my natural talents that worthy--well, not yet. Moping aside, there's no doubt that Wu's unique approach to releasing this album will impact the way other musical artists operate. That said, could this signal an end to the days of average album releases wherein artists promote their new music through social media, radio/TV appearances, performances and transparent publicity stunts?

If recent trends are any indication, drastic changes in album promotions appear to already be underway. As an article in Forbes points out, even the timing between artists announcing new albums and the actual release dates appears to be growing shorter. Record labels and artists may be forced to work overtime to compete with the likes of Beyoncé and her surprise album, or even her better half Jay Z, who side-stepped the usual online/in-store release when he dropped Magna Carta Holy Grail , making him the first artist to go platinum before the actual album release, thanks to his partnership with Samsung.

Whether Wu-Tang's latest offering is worthy of the steep price tag is definitely a matter of opinion. But what's factual is that the record industry is rapidly transforming and other artists should take notes, or risk losing out on some.