Remember back in the day when you looked forward to buying music? You know, when buying an album was an intimate experience.
You’d go to the store, pick it up in your hands, pay for it, take it home, unwrap it, put it on the turntable, cassette deck or CD player, hit play then listen. Intently. It was art. And art was rewarding by listening.
Fast forward to today and there’s practically no experience around buying music.
Two clicks max and you have your music. It’s almost too easy. Personally, I don’t get a thrill and I’ve got nothing to look forward to. I miss the experience because today’s music experience has become cheapened to the point where it’s just another commodity. Like chewing gum. All too often just to get exposure, artists are even being forced to hand it out for free. It’s an easy-come-easy-go world. Consumers are suffering and most don’t even know it because the young ones, hell, this is what they’re used to.
It goes without saying real musicians are suffering because their art isn’t respected as art anymore. Not really.
Enter superhero rap legends, Wu-Tang Clan.
As part of their 20th anniversary, Wu decided to do more than make the kick-ass music they’re known for making. They put the issue on the front lines. Wu Tang’s RZA said recently in an interview with Forbes that “…The idea that music is art has been something we advocated for years…And yet its doesn’t receive the same treatment as art in the sense of the value of what it is, especially nowadays when it’s been devalued and diminished to almost the point that it has to be given away for free.”
So what’s Wu-Tang doing about it?
They’re letting the world experience music as art again in the form of an album. A single album. As in, just one copy. In a one-of-a-kind engraved silver and nickel box, secured in a vault by the atlas mountains of Marrakech, Morocco. Yes, inside that box will sit a single copy of Wu Tang’s new album. That single copy for a single buyer. A masterpiece.
Before being sold, the album will be taken on an international tour where the public will be able to experience it either in museums or festivals. To try and prevent it from being leaked online, security will be high with no recorders, cameras or any of that crap. After the grand tour the one album will be auctioned to the highest bidder.
Will the buyer of the album choose to democratize it and share it with the world? Hang it on a wall? Keep it in a safe? Whatever they choose to do, the point will have been made.
Music will be art.