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Radiohead just flexed on hackers by releasing 18 hours of pirated music

What a power move.

Radiohead on stage
Image: WikiMedia Commons

Radiohead has never been afraid to mix things up when it comes to releasing their music.

After splitting with their label in 2003, the indie band began experimenting with alternative distribution methods of like BitTorrent and pay-what-you-want pricing, the latter of which led their 2007 album, In Rainbows, to massive commercial and critical success.

So when the band had over 18 hours of b-sides and MiniDiscs stolen and held for ransom, as Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood announced on Facebook earlier today, they responded as one might expect.

According to Greenwood, the hackers were demanding $150,000 for the MinDiscs – most of which had been recorded around the time of OK Computer

Rather than meet the hackers demands, the band instead opted to simply release the music. For the next 18 days, Radiohead diehards will be able to purchase the various demos for £18 ($23) –if they feel like it, of course – with all proceeds going to Extinction Rebellion.

“Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue) it’s only tangentially interesting,” wrote the band on its Facebook page. “And very, very long.”

“It’s not [very] interesting,” Yorke himself added. “There’s a lot of it.”

As Wired points out, most of the tracks featured in the hack “have already circulated freely online for six days,” rendering the ransom dead on arrival. Regardless, fans have compiled a Google Doc tracking which songs and sessions the leak contains in an effort to steer downloaders to the tracks that might interest them most.

Downloads of the previously unreleased material can be made at Radiohead’s Bandcamp page.

What do you think? What a power move by Radiohead, huh? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Writer. Editor. Barelyknewer. Hate mail can be directed to j j o n e s @ k a r s f o r k i d s d o t e a r t h l i n k

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