Alternative rock legends Radiohead released a wealth of private 18-hour recordings from their 1997 album on Tuesday OK Computer after being hacked by someone looking for a ransom of $ 150,000 for the music.
The English musicians of the genre group uploaded the 1.8 gigabyte collection of recording session takes and rare live performances to their radiohead.bandcamp.com website.
– Jonny Greenwood (@JnnyG) June 11, 2019
The songs are available online for free.
The group also sells downloads of an album of the 18 pirated MiniDiscs for Â£ 18 ($ 22.90, 20.20 euros) and donates the proceeds to environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion.
âWe have been hacked,â leader Thom Yorke wrote on the website.
“It’s not very interesting,” he added. “Since he’s over there, he might as well be there, until we’re all bored and moved on.”
Guitarist Jonny Greenwood then tweeted a statement saying the hack took place last week.
“Someone stole the archives from Thom’s minidisk around the time of OK Computer, and allegedly demanded $ 150,000 under threat to publish it, âGreenwood wrote.
âSo instead of complaining – a lot – or ignoring it, we’re posting the 6pm on Bandcamp to benefit Extinction Rebellion,â he wrote.
News of the hack first appeared on a Radiohead talk page on the Reddit website last week.
“It’s kinda crazy,” wrote one user identified only as u / santicol.
The user described how someone claiming to own the archive contacted a “well-known leaker” and offered them glimpses of the leads.
âThey were asking over $ 150,000 for the set, at $ 800 per studio track and $ 50 per live track,â the Reddit user wrote.
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“Inconvenient and difficult”
The collection includes demo versions of OK Computer music and a few songs that never made it.
The critically acclaimed album earned Radiohead their first Grammy and was followed by a world tour that earned them lasting international fame.
His best-selling single was “Karma Police” – one of the most instantly recognizable tracks of the 1990s and a holiday staple for the next 20 years.
âThe leaker appears to be well-known in some spaces and has a history of trading in very rare / high-level hardware,â the Reddit user wrote.
Radiohead was formed in 1985 and debuted with their hit single “Creep” in 1992. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.
“It can be awkward and difficult at times,” said band songwriter Philip Selway at the induction ceremony.
“But I guess that’s what has interested us all over the past three decades.”
Radiohead has campaigned passionately for environmental causes and features songs about climate change.
They stopped using disposable cups while on tour in 2008 and started filling their tour buses with biofuels.
Campaigners at Extinction Rebellion – a fast-growing movement founded last year by British academics – want global governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025.
Their highly disruptive but peaceful protests paralyzed parts of central London for 11 days in April and saw police make more than 1,000 arrests.