Radiohead Respond to Leak by Releasing 18 Hours of ‘OK Computer’ Sessions

Jem Aswad

After hackers leaked 18 hours of mostly previously unreleased outtakes from Radiohead’s “OK Computer” sessions, the band have responded by officially releasing the recordings on the online music service Bandcamp. The recordings will be available for £18 (about $23) for 18 days, and proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion, an ecological activist group that recently staged protests in London.

Hackers had attempted to hold the recordings, which date from the sessions for the band’s classic 1997 album, for ransom; when that failed, they leaked them online last week.

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In a statement, the band’s Jonny Greenwood wrote: “We got hacked last week — someone stole Thom’s minidisk archive from around the time of ‘OK Computer,’ and reportedly demanded $150,000 on threat of releasing it. So instead of complaining — much — or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion. 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) it’s only tangentially interesting. And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”

A few selections from the set, which consists primarily of alternate versions of songs from the album, as well as tunes that were not issued until years later, were released on the 20th anniversary reissue of the album, “OKNOTOK.”

Thom Yorke wrote of the 1.8 gigabyte collection, according to The Guardian, “It’s not v interesting. 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.”

Extinction Rebellion thanked the band, describing its gift as “unprecedented support,” according to The Guardian. “The climate and ecological emergency demands courage, truth-telling and generosity like never before,” it 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.”

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