Radiohead just released hours of music stolen by hackers to fight climate change
The music was from stolen from hours of sessions recorded for 1997 album ‘OK Computer’.
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke reportedly just got hacked — with thieves making off with hours upon hours of unreleased music taken from sessions for the band’s 1997 album OK Computer.
The band claim that they were held ransom for $150,000 (£118,000). In response, they just released the whole thing, meaning lucky fans can listen to all 1.8 GB of it on Bandcamp. Fans have the next 18 days to access the music, which they can download in full for £18.
And — no surprises — all money raised will go straight to fighting climate change.
Guitarist Jonny Greenwood wrote an email outlining the story, and shared a screengrab of it on social media. He titled the email “Walter Sobchak vs Bunny's toe” — a reference to John Goodman’s character in 1998 cult movie The Big Lebowski and the severed body part used as blackmail to get ransom money.
“Instead of complaining – much – or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion,” Greenwood wrote in the email. “Just for the next 18 days. So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom.”
“Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue),” he added. “It’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”
“It’s not v interesting,” Thom Yorke noted online. “There’s a lot of it… As it’s out there it may as well be out there until we all get bored and move on.”
OK Computer was voted Radiohead’s greatest album in a Guardian poll in 2011.
Among the newly released material includes a 12-minute version of “Paranoid Android” and a demo recording of “Karma Police.” Fans have accumulated all known details about the music in an extensive colour coded 57-page Google Document.
All profits raised from the sale will go to British environmental movement Extinction Rebellion, which thanked the band for their “unprecedented support.”
The direct action group brought London to a standstill in April as it spent weeks peacefully protesting the climate crisis. It felt let down by government inaction on the issue, and responded by shutting down bridges, camping out in Parliament Square, and climbing public transport.
It was described by organisers as the biggest civil disobedience event in modern British history. There were over 1,000 arrests in total — eventually pressuring the government into voting to make Britain the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency.
“The climate and ecological emergency demands courage, truth-telling, and generosity like never before,” Extinction Rebellion said in a statement. “We are so grateful to Radiohead for showing us how that’s done, both now and in the lead-up to the April rebellion. Words are inadequate but actions do change the world.”
Radiohead and Thom Yorke are no stranger to environmental electioneering, having lent Extinction Rebellion the rights to their track “Idioteque” from album Kid-A for a recent promotional video.
Yorke has also scored original music for a Greenpeace campaign to protect the Antarctic — premiered in a projection onto London Marble Arch — and even DJ’d on a float for the charity, with little fanfare, at a climate march in 2015.
His history with the climate movement runs deep: his debut solo album, The Eraser, was in part a response to the dissatisfaction he felt with government attitudes to climate change all the way back in 2006.