Last week, online Radiohead obsessives hit the motherlode. Eighteen hours of outtakes from the recording of the band’s 1997 masterpiece OK Computer — enough music to make the 2017 reissue OKNOTOK 1997-2017 seem absolutely paltry — leaked online. Radiohead fans tend to be an online bunch, one well-suited to sorting through ephemera, and they started a shared Google doc just to keep track of everything in that vast leaked data-dump. But then there was the ethical quandary: Did you really want to hear all this Radiohead music that the band didn’t want you to hear? That quandary is no longer an issue. Radiohead have gone ahead and released all of that music — all 18 hours — and it’s yours for an exceedingly low price.
The band has also told the whole story about the leak. On Twitter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Jonny Greenwood writes that someone stole Thom Yorke’s archive of minidiscs and tried to use them to blackmail the band, threatening to post the entire archive online if the band didn’t pay a whole lot of money. So instead, they’ve posted the whole thing on Bandcamp, where it will remain for just 18 days — or until the band decides to take it down. They’re charging £18 — about $23 — and donating all the proceeds to the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion. On Twitter, Greenwood writes:
We got hacked last week — someone stole thom’s minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and apparently 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 random clips did reach 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?
— Jonny Greenwood (@JnnyG) June 11, 2019
Meanwhile, on their Bandcamp page, the band writes:
we’ve been hacked
my archived mini discs from 1995-1998(?)
it’s not v interesting
there’s a lot of it
if you want it, you can buy the whole lot here
18 minidisks for £18
the proceeds will go to Extinction Rebellion
as it’s out there
it may as well be out there
until we all get bored
and move on
We’ll judge the “not v interesting” thing for ourselves! Here’s the full 18-hour stream:
You can, for the next 18 days, buy this heaving mass of data at Bandcamp.