- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Radiohead made available nearly 18 hours of old recordings Tuesday in response to the audio being leaked online last week due to an apparent data breach.

Members of the acclaimed British rock group said they were officially releasing the material — a trove of private recordings made by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke during sessions for the band’s third album — after suffering a hack that resulted in the songs being recently leaked on the web.

“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,” Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood said on social media.

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“Instead of complaining — much — or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion,” Mr. Greenwood said, referring to a British-based activist movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to raise awareness about climate change. “So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom.”

Reports surfaced Monday on Reddit about previously unreleased Radiohead recordings being offered for upwards of $150,000, and by Wednesday the audio had leaked and started being shared by fans.

Mr. Greenwood, 47, said the songs were never intended for public consumption and “only tangentially interesting.” Mr. Yorke, 50, described them as “not [very] interesting.”

“[A]s it’s out there it may as well be out there until we all get bored and move on,” Mr. Yorke said on the Bandcamp page where the group shared the songs.

Released in 1997, “OK Computer” spawned several charting singles for Radiohead — notably “Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police” — and earned the group a nomination for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The band has released another six albums since, the most recent being 2016’s “A Moon Shaped Pool.” In March the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after two years of eligibility.

Radiohead did not explain how recordings had been compromised, and a representative for the band did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

In a statement, Extinction Rebellion said it was “so grateful” for the group’s generosity, adding: “Words are inadequate but actions do change the world.”

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