Beasties' Yauch To Take Tibetan Fest Global In '99, Label Balks At Free B-Boys Downloads

Despite rumors that last year's Tibetan Freedom Concert would be the human rights festival's swan song, Beastie Boy Adam Yauch now says that he's already making plans for a fourth annual concert in 1999.

This year's two-day concert, held in Washington D.C. in June and which featured sets from such artists as the Beasties, the Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, R.E.M. and Pearl Jam, among others, was plagued by stormy weather, and one fan had to be hospitalized after being struck by lightning during the concert's first day (see "Lightning Silences Tibetan Freedom Concert As Fans Injured").

For 1999, Yauch, who helped co-found the Tibetan Freedom Concert along with the Milarepa organization, told MTV News that he's planning for next year's event to take on an ever-so-international flavor.

"Actually, [we're] trying to organize it so it's can be in four different countries on the same day,"

Yauch said. "We're looking at doing one in the United States in Chicago, one probably in Amsterdam, one in Sydney, Australia and one in Tokyo, Japan. I guess the idea is to get more of a global focus on the Tibet situation." [28.8 RealVideo]

No dates or acts have been named for the multi-national event, but we'll keep you posted.

In related Beasties news, fans who were happily downloading live tracks from the band's official website in the near CD-quality MP3 file format have no doubt noticed that those tracks were yanked last week and replaced by lower quality RealAudio versions.

The reason behind the switch, according to a recent report in the "Wall Street Journal," stems from a running dispute between the Beasties and their label, Capitol Records, which has major reservations about one of its acts making such music available for free on the Internet -- even though the music in question is not available on any Capitol recording.

Beasties tech chief Mike D told the paper that it "boggles my mind that labels are freaked and afraid, instead of really getting involved with what's going on."

The MP3 format, which can be utilized via such devices as the new hand-held Diamond Rio player, is being perceived as a threat by record retailers and labels, some of which are apparently choosing to seize the situation by the horns.

Tower Records, for instance, has announced plans to launch a new website in January called Digital Tower that will allow customers to create and download custom compilations CDs from a vast online music library, and other major retailers such as Wherehouse and National Record Mart say they have similar plans.

The country's five major record companies also have announced plans to investigate music-download projects as a means of distributing music, but those are still in the development stages.