Gather around and hear a modern-day fairy tale. Back in 2014, the rap group Wu-Tang Clan devised a plan. They would produce and record a brand-new album called “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.” But this album wouldn't receive wide distribution — they would instead press only one copy. The whole world would only have one copy of this music. And then the group would auction off that copy to the highest bidder.
Meanwhile, a young, ambitious entrepreneur named Martin Shkreli found himself on the receiving end of a great deal of public scorn. What had he done to deserve such treatment? His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, purchased a drug called Daraprim and jacked up the price. Daraprim is an anti-parasitic medication often used to treat malaria and patients who are HIV-positive. The original price per dose of Daraprim was $13.50. Shkreli's company boosted that up to $750 per pill. (He recently told Forbes that the price hike was a mistake. In fact, he should have raised the drug's cost even more.)
These two worlds collided when it was announced on Nov. 25 that the successful bid (the exact million-dollar figure was undisclosed) for Wu-Tang Clan's super-exclusive album came from Shkreli.
And now Shkreli can do whatever he wants with that music, short of making money off of it. He can give it away, hoard it to himself or even never listen to it in the first place. If he wanted to, he could destroy the album and that would be the end of it.
Will Shkreli release the album to the world? Based upon his past behavior, that may be a long shot. Shkreli reportedly enjoys using a credit card that once belonged to the late Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, and he occasionally whips it out to cause a ruckus when paying for stuff. He doesn't seem concerned about his public image. In fact, he told Bloomberg Business that he hasn't listened to the album yet, saving it for a time when he's feeling gloomy but “I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that.”
To learn more about the whole saga, we recommend that Bloomberg article. You can learn more about Shkreli, as well as the Wu-Tang Clan's reaction when they found out who was buying their album. It's a great read. Just be prepared to have feelings.