Radiohead release 18 hours of previously unheard music from 'OK Computer' in response to hack, ransom demand

The sessions, which were recorded by Thom Yorke on a series of mini discs, includes recordings of live-only tracks, ambient music and short riffs that never evolved into full-fledged songs


                            Radiohead release 18 hours of previously unheard music from 'OK Computer' in response to hack, ransom demand

Radiohead just dropped 18 hours of previously unreleased music from the recording sessions for their hit album ‘OK Computer’ after hackers who stole the recordings demanded $150,000 as ransom and threatened to leak the tapes online.

The sessions, which were recorded by Thom Yorke on a series of mini discs, includes recordings of live-only tracks, ambient music and short riffs that never evolved into full-fledged songs, along with some material that has already been released as part of ‘OKNOTOK’, the 20th-anniversary reissue of ‘OK Computer’.

Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead perform during their first night at Victoria Park, in support of the album 'In Rainbows', on June 24, 2008 in London, England.

Earlier this month, there were rumors that a hacker had gained access to the unreleased material and was threatening to release it online unless a ransom was paid.

After the band refused to pay up, the recordings were leaked across the web.

Never ready to give in without a fight, the English rock band decided to officially release the music on Bandcamp instead of bothering with fighting the leak.

In a short message posted with the release, Yorke said, "As it’s out there, it may as well be out there until we all get bored and move on." 

“We got hacked last week,” lead guitarist Johnny Greenwood said in a statement. “Someone stole Thom’s minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 while threatening to release it. So instead of complaining - much - or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion.”

Greenwood said that the tapes were “never intended for public consumption”, although some of the tracks did make it to the reissue. The tapes reportedly include a few versions of ‘True Love Waits’, which has previously been released as a live cut and as an official studio version.

The 47-year-old musician added that “it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long”.

While that may be the case, Radiohead is after all one of the most groundbreaking bands in rock history and fans are going to be more than happy to get their hands on even their throwaway recordings.

Pitchfork reports that the music is available for just 18 days at £18 (approximately $23) and Greenwood has encouraged fans to pay the money and find out if it was worth paying a ransom for.

The proceeds from the sales will go to Extinction Rebellion, a nonviolent climate activist group that made headlines recently after staging protests in London.

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