Two million dollars may be a lot of "dolla dolla bill y'all" to you and me, but not to infamous pharma price-gouger Martin Shkreli.
It turns out Shkreli was especially taken by the infamous Wu-Tang Clan anthem "C.R.E.A.M." or "Cash Rules Everything Around Me," and so he decided to spend $2M to be the only owner of the hip hop band's latest album, "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," the most expensive album ever sold, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Prior to this latest display of wealth, Shkreli was most well known for jacking up the price of the drug Daraprim in August from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill — an increase of greater than 5,000 percent. The drug is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection, which can result in headaches, confusion, poor coordination, seizures, lung problems and blurred vision in patients, including those with HIV or AIDS.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the auction house that sold the album refused to reveal who had purchased it but Shkreli was happy to spill the beans himself.
“I was a little worried that they were going to walk out of the deal,” Shkreli told the magazine, given the Daraprim publicity. "But by then we’d closed. The whole kind of thing since then has been just kind of ‘Well, do we want to announce it’s him? Do we not want to announce it’s him?’ I think they were trying to cover their butts a little bit.”
Fans of Wu-Tang Clan had attempted to raise money to purchase the album as a group so "the rest of us get to enjoy an epic album instead of some uber rich bastard keeping it to himself like a collector's item," according to a Kickstarter page, but the future these fans predicted has seemingly come to pass.
Rather than distribute the album to fans for free, Shkreli has decided to keep it locked away without even listening to it himself, according to the magazine. “I could be convinced to listen to it earlier if Taylor Swift wants to hear it or something like that,” Shkreli told Businessweek. “But for now, I think I’m going to kind of save it for a rainy day.”
In an e-mailed statement to Businessweek, Robert Diggs, the producer and de-facto leader of the Wu-Tang Clan known as RZA wrote: “The sale of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin was agreed upon in May, well before Martin Shkreli’s [sic] business practices came to light. We decided to give a significant portion of the proceeds to charity.”
Shkreli now seems to envision his future as a patron of the arts. He wants more artists to make private albums for him and figures they could use the money, according to Businessweek. “It’s almost like the instructions to the band are, ‘Do your best work, however much time it takes, and never compromise anything for me,’ ” he told the magazine. “ ‘I just want to hear what you’ve got.’”
Make no mistake though, Shkreli isn't channeling Greek muses. The din of capitalism is the only tune he really dances to. “Typically you would say, ‘As an average fan, I can’t get Fetty Wap to give me a personal concert,’ ” he says. “The reality is, sure you could. You know, at the right price these guys basically will do anything.”
Watch and listen to the song that made Martin Shkreli a Wu-Tang Fan, below.