Who knew the Beastie Boys’ 1989 cool-guy anthem ”Hey Ladies” segued really nicely into their cheeky 1994 tune ”Sabotage”? That and hundreds of other mix-and-match combos are available at online custom-CD retailer musicmaker.com (www.musicmaker.com), which until Dec. 31 is letting fans of the long-lived hip-hop group choose 40 songs (or 140 minutes of music) from a reservoir of 150 B-Boys tracks, including rarities, B sides, remixes, and most of the hits. After you pick your cuts and pay $17.85, musicmaker.com burns and mails you a customized double-CD set—and you even get to christen it with your own title.
Why are the Beasties allowing such free rein, especially since they’ve just released The Sounds of Science, a double-CD anthology of their own? Says Beastie Mike D, ”It came down to the fact that we had to go through a big catalog to figure out what to put on…[but] a lot of people would pick different things.” Musicmaker.com marketing chief Larry Lieberman says the response has been phenomenal, with sales topping 100,000. ”It’s definitely about empowerment,” he says. ”In the offline world, the only people who get to pick the songs…are record-company presidents. How many people want to be record-company presidents? A lot. This lets the fans be their own president.” Especially if they’ve got time to burn.