I have always told anyone who would listen that the music of the Wu Tang Clan was High Art. Film directors like Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino know it and have made films starring the Wu like Ghost Dog and The Man with the Iron Fists . The whole NY Art scene considers Wu to be Art, not just music. I have a book I’m writing about the Wu’s lyrics. I even recorded an EP of all covers of the Wu ( https://soundcloud.com/chrismason1/triumph ) , done with acoustic guitar and stand up bass, etc to highlight the transcendental quality of the lyrics. Well, they’ve done it again. With the presentation of just one copy of their new secret album, they’ve opened the possibility of music as High Art and not just consumer product.
“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.“