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Wu-Tang Redefines Art

Wu-Tang Clan announces plans to manufacture and sell only one copy of a secret double album, that will be toured around the World`s greatest museums.

We often call musicians artists, however we don't often call albums pieces of art. Sure there are those who spend plenty of time creating a stunning album cover art, but rarely do you find it hanging on someone's walls or in a museum. Looking to change the way we see, hear, and purchase art is none other than Staten Island street troubadours the Wu-Tang Clan.

For years fans of the Wu-Tang clan have been anxiously awaiting the release of their latest album, A Better Tomorrow, which was originally supposed to drop last summer, but is apparently being pushed to this summer. The wait took a dramatic turn, when out of the blue Wu-Tang Clan announced that before releasing the album everyone was waiting for, that they would release a previously unannounced double album produced by RZA and Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh entitled The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

This news has come as a bit of a shock to fans who were anticipating a single album with a different title, but what is most shocking is that the Wu-Tang clan are planning to only manufacture and sell one copy. You heard right: only one copy. The legendary New York hip hop collective will be asking for a multimillion-dollar price befitting of a one of kind unique piece of art.

"We're about to sell an album like nobody else sold it before," RZA told Forbes.com. "We're about to put out a piece of art like nobody else has done in the history of [modern] music. We're making a single-sale collector's item. This is like somebody having the sceptre of an Egyptian king."

Wu-Tang's goal is to restore music's place as art, and are hoping that the album will be bought after being toured around the world's museums, galleries, and festivals. On tour, the piece of art will be heavily guarded and displayed with a special headphones allowing patrons to exclusivly hear something that can't be found online or in shops. Dates for the exhibition are yet to be announced, the only information that was provided by the project came via a note released by RZA and Cilvaring that Forbes.com cited as the project's website.

Here is what RZA and Cilvaringz had to say:

#Norules.
History demonstrates that great musicians such as Beethoven, Mozart and Bach are held in the same high esteem as figures like Picasso, Michelangelo and Van Gogh. However, the creative output of today’s artists such as The RZA, Kanye West or Dr. Dre, is not valued equally to that of artists like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst or Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Is exclusivity versus mass replication really the 50 million dollar difference between a microphone and a paintbrush? Is contemporary art overvalued in an exclusive market, or are musicians undervalued in a profoundly saturated market? By adopting a 400 year old Renaissance-style approach to music, offering it as a commissioned commodity and allowing it to take a similar trajectory from creation to exhibition to sale, as any other contemporary art piece, we hope to inspire and intensify urgent debates about the future of music. We hope to steer those debates toward more radical solutions and provoke questions about the value and perception of music as a work of art in today’s world.

While we fully embrace the advancements in music technology, we feel it has contributed to the devaluation of music as an art form. By taking this step, we hope to re-enforce the weight that music once carried alongside a painting or a sculpture. The album will be put on listening display in renowned galleries, museums, venues and exhibition spaces around the world for only the most dedicated to experience before it disappears into the private collection of a buyer. The public will know that what they will hear will be a once in a life time experience.

A notable few have explored original and creative economic models. Prince, Radiohead and more recently Jay Z and Beyonce have all introduced new financial and distribution models and challenged the industry structure. In 1993, the Wu-Tang Clan introduced the revolutionary ‘Wu-Tang deal’ which allowed the group to sign with one record label as an entity, but sign separate deals with other major labels for solo releases. It was an approach adopted by many groups that followed. Now 21 years later a new approach is introduced, one where the pride and joy of sharing music with the masses is sacrificed for the benefit of reviving music as a valuable art and inspiring debate about its future among musicians, fans and the industry that drives it. Simultaneously, it launches the private music branch as a new luxury business model for those able to commission musicians to create songs or albums for private collections. It is a fascinating melting pot of art, luxury, revolution and inspiration. It’s welcoming people to an old world.“

Cilvaringz & The RZA

Here's hoping the tour finds its way to the Egyptian Museum.