Radiohead are releasing 18 hours of previously unheard but “not very interesting” music after hackers gained access and demanded a ransom.
The tracks were stolen from singer Thom Yorke’s archive of material from around the time of 1997 album OK Computer, guitarist Jonny Greenwood said on Twitter.
Greenwood said the trove of music was never intended for public consumption, while Yorke described it as “not very interesting”.
However, fans have been delighted by the release, which features previously unheard recordings of Radiohead classics including Paranoid Android and No Surprises.
Thwarting the hackers, the band say proceeds will go to climate change campaign group Extinction Rebellion.
In a statement, Greenwood said: “We got hacked last week – someone stole Thom’s minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 (£118,000) 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.”
A message from Yorke on Radiohead’s Bandcamp page says: “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.”
Fans have been quick to praise the band, with one writing on Bandcamp: “Thank you. You guys are bloody brilliant sometimes & you handled this situation perfectly.”
— Extinction Rebellion ?⌛️? (@ExtinctionR) June 11, 2019
Another said: “While the reason for this release should not be rewarded it is very thoughtful and, as always with this band, forward thinking that they chose not to pay the ransom but instead decided to release all of these recordings while also helping an amazing organization.
“Bought it the minute I read the news and cant wait to start listening!”
Extinction Rebellion thanked the band on Twitter and quoted lines from the band’s song Idioteque, from 2000 album Kid A, saying: “Thank you so much to @JnnyG and @radiohead for supporting the rebellion so we can continue to build this powerful movement of non-violent civil disobedience.
“We’re not scaremongering / This is really happening – Idioteque.”