Radiohead release music to raise money for Extinction Rebellion

Hackers order Radiohead singer Thom Yorke to pay £150,000 ransom after stealing 18 hours of unheard music – but he refuses to pay and releases the tracks instead to raise money for Extinction Rebellion

  • Hackers threatened to release music ‘never intended for public consumption’ 
  • Guitarist Jonny Greenwood said the band refused to pay a £150,000 ransom 
  • Instead they are releasing 18 hours of music on Bandcamp at £18 for 18 days 
  • Raising money for activists who demand UK’s carbon emissions drop to zero 

Radiohead are releasing a haul of unheard music in aid of Extinction Rebellion instead of paying a ransom to the hackers who broke into their archive.

Guitarist Jonny Greenwood said 18 hours of material recorded around the time of 1997’s OK Computer was stolen from frontman Thom Yorke.

The thief threatened to expose the songs unless the band forked out £150,000. But Greenwood said that instead they are releasing it through the Bandcamp site so fans can decide for themselves whether they’d have been better off never hearing it. 

He said sales were in aid of the climate change activists who closed down parts of London in April as they demanded the UK moves to net zero carbon emissions by 2025. 

Jonny Greenwood (right) has revealed that the archive of Thom York (left) was hacked and they decided to release the material rather than pay a ransom 

Greenwood tweeted this to the band’s fans as he announced that the band will release the 18 hours of material 

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators gather at Marble Arch in London on Easter Sunday

The musician tweeted: ‘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.’ He added: ‘Rainy out, isn’t it though?’

Greenwood also tweeted links to Radiohead’s Bandcamp page and the protest group’s website.

A note from Yorke on the 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.

Police carry away a protester during the climate demonstration at Oxford Circus last month

‘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.’

Other famous supporters of Extinction Rebellion include Dame Emma Thompson, former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, authors Philip Pullman and Margaret Atwood and political writer Noam Chomsky.

Police arrested more than 1,130 people during the London protests, at which more than 10,000 police officers were deployed.  

The Met spent £7million policing the demonstrations, which caused carnage on Oxford Street, Waterloo Bridge, Parliament Square, Canary Wharf tube station and outside the Bank of England.


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