Beasties Bring Marketing Heat for Ninth Album

Longtime rap group taps Web, online video to market latest album

Crisis control pop quiz: What do you do when an abridged version of your forthcoming album gets leaked online? If you’re the Beastie Boys, the answer is simple: stream the whole friggin’ thing.

The Hot Sauce Committee Part Two is not due to be officially released until May 3, but when a version was leaked last week, the Beasties declined to get pissy and/or litigious. Instead, they issued a statement: “With great hubris, we are making the full explicit, aka filthy dirty nasty, version available for streaming on our site. We hope this brings much happiness, hugs, and harmony.”

It was just the latest salvo in a marketing campaign that’s been viral gold from the outset. Earlier in April, the trio posted a four-minute video for the first single, “Make Some Noise.” That was followed by a longer, R-rated 30-minute film. In the minimovie, itself called Fight for Your Right Revisited, the Beasties of 1986 (played by Danny McBride, Elijah Wood, and Seth Rogen) go wilding through the streets of New York before tangling with future versions of themselves (Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly).

The Beasties embraced Web culture a long time ago. In 2004 they contributed to a CD put out by Wired magazine that actively encouraged listeners to rip and remix songs under the experimental Creative Commons license.

This new film, written and directed by Beastie Adam Yauch, celebrates the 25th anniversary of their breakout single (and makes us feel ancient). It benefits from cameos by a huge crew of comedians and celebs—Will Arnett, Rainn Wilson, Steve Buscemi, Ted Danson, and Susan Sarandon, to name just a few—and was uploaded to Hulu, tweeted, and posted on the Beasties’ official Tumblr-Internet catnip.

“It’s brilliant. It’s exactly what they should be doing,” says Charles Rosen, president of the independent ad agency Amalgamated. “We don’t see this much in the music industry, where labels and studios are clinging to the status quo as best they can as the world changes around them.”