Popular British rock band Radiohead is in the news for all the wrong reasons. According to an announcement made by Radiohead this Tuesday, the band had to release 18 hours of unheard material from the studio sessions recorded in 1997 for their landmark album “Ok Computer.”
Guitarist Jonny Greenwood explained the reason behind such an abrupt release of previously unheard material, which is that the band was being threatened by an unnamed hacker who had managed to steal Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke’s private MiniDisc archive containing the abovementioned recordings. “OK Computer” is the band’s third album, which was a massive worldwide hit.
Greenwood further revealed that the hacker demanded $150,000 in exchange for the material and threatened the band members to release their yet unheard recordings to the public. The band members decided to release the recordings themselves on Bandcamp instead of giving into the hacker’s demand of paying the ransom.
The band claimed in a Facebook post that the tapes weren’t supposed to be made public but since they had no choice so “instead of complaining – much – or ignoring it” they released the 18 hours long tapes to aid a climate change group Extinction Rebellion. The recordings will be available for download at $23 or £18 until the end of this month.
Greenwood also wrote on Radiohead’s official Facebook page that:
“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. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”
“OK Computer”f is the band’s most widely popular and critically acclaimed album, which was released in 1997. The album went on to win the Best Alternative Music Album at the 1998 Grammy Awards.
It is worth noting that stealing confidential documents to ask for ransom in return has become a very common practice nowadays. The victims are left with no other choice but to pay the ransom or forget about their data however the FBI has always advised victims to “just pay the ransom to cybercriminals.”
Nevertheless, Radiohead rightly decided not to pay the ransom and prevented further exploitation at the hands of hackers by opting to release the tapes and offering them for downloading on the web.