NEW YORK – Pearlstein & McCullough (“P&M”) today announced that its client, Paddle8 Inc. has- for the first time in history- consummated the sale of a hip-hop album as a work of art. The artwork, a sole existing copy of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin by the Wu-Tang Clan sold to an anonymous American buyer for an undisclosed figure in the millions.
On March 26, 2014, the Wu-Tang Clan announced the release of a single copy of their forthcoming album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. Arguing that music had been economically and experientially devalued in a world of streaming media, the Clan came out with a radical concept: If society was prepared to devalue the art of music through convenient consumerism, then their final album would be released in one incarnation as a unique work of art, thus re-establish the core of musical composition.
P&M’s partner Michael McCullough said: “We are honored to have helped Paddle8 facilitate the sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a seminal moment in art history, and is a great testament to the profound artistry of the Wu Tang Clan and the innovative business acumen of Paddle8. Everybody who worked on this year-long project was deeply inspired by the experience.”
About Pearlstein & McCullough LLP
P&M is a boutique law practice based in New York servicing the international art trade. P&M’s partners understand the specialized vocabulary of the art world, understand the concerns of dealers, collectors, auction houses and museums, and have the seasoning and experience to help clients navigate the special problems that often arise in the art market. Every day, P&M helps clients who buy, sell, collect, and consult on art for a living or as part of their lives. As commercial lawyers immersed full-time in the art trade, P&M’s partners work comfortably with people who handle art for a living.
Paddle8 is the premier online collecting destination, presenting auctions of extraordinary art, design, jewelry, watches, and collectibles. Using innovative technology, Paddle8 has streamlined the collecting experience, combining the taste and trust of an auction house with the ease and efficiency of an e-commerce company. In addition, Paddle8 has partnered with over 350 non-profit organizations worldwide to present benefit auctions to our global community of 500,000 collectors, helping each organization expand its fundraising results. Founded in 2011, Paddle8 has over 120 employees worldwide, with teams in New York, L.A., and London. Paddle8 is funded by the investors behind Uber, Vimeo, Buzzfeed, Paperless Post, Warby Parker, and Bonobos, among others, as well as art-world insiders including artist Damien Hirst, art dealer Jay Jopling, and Matthew Mellon.
About Wu Tang Clan
The Wu-Tang Clan is an American hip hop group from New York City, originally composed of East Coast rappers RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard. The group was formed in and is associated with the New York City borough of Staten Island.
The Wu-Tang Clan has introduced and launched the careers of a number of affiliated artists and groups, often collectively known as the Wu-Tang Killa Bees, and in 2008, About.com ranked them the No. 1 greatest hip hop group of all time. Kris Ex of Rolling Stone called Wu-Tang Clan “the best rap group ever”. In 2004, NME hailed them as one of the most influential groups of the last ten years.
About Once Upon a Time Shaolin
Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is a limited edition double album by the New York hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan released in 2015.
One double-LP copy of the album was made in 2014. The agreement between the seller and buyer states that although the album is unable to be re-sold until 2103, the purchaser has the right to distribute the contents online for free and to hold free listening parties. RZA stated that the 88-year non-commercialization was due to his belief in Five-Percent Nation mathematical philosophies, as there were eight original members of the Wu-Tang, the digits of 2015 add up to eight, Paddle8 has eight in its name, eight is a symbol of infinity, and was used in their second album Wu-Tang Forever.