Never mind shelter, gimme money, the thieves told Radiohead. Hackers had somehow purloined 16 hours of unheard demos, outtakes, live performances and behind-the-scenes cussin’ ’n swearin’ from Radiohead’s seminal 1997 album OK Computer. Frontman Thom Yorke had stored the files on MiniDiscs — a throwback to the days when floppy discs were a thing and MiniDiscs were briefly considered an existential threat to CDs — and forgotten about them.
The thieves threatened to release the files on the file-sharing site Bandcamp unless Radiohead paid a ransom of $150,000. The thieves assumed Radiohead would be frantic to keep a lid on the music files, which lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood was on record as saying were never meant to be made public in the first place. Even if they were, the thieves reasoned, Radiohead would lose out on lucrative royalties if the files were dumped on an unsuspecting public first.
Radiohead had the last laugh, though. Bigly so. The alt-rockers have long been associated with the battle to save the environment. The band willingly signed off on the rights to their 2011 song Bloom from the album The King of Limbs so that film composer Hans Zimmer could use is as the signature theme for Blue Planet II; Yorke himself said Bloom was inspired by the original Blue Planet series.
So Radiohead hosed the thieves, and hosed them but good.
Yorke, Greenwood and their Radiohead bandmates Colin Greenwood, Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway elected to release the 16 hours of stolen music files themselves — £18 buys you the wholeshot — and donate the proceeds, everything, every last penny, to the climate-
activist group Extinction Rebellion.
You can stream it all for free for the next two weeks, or download it for £18 — roughly $35 in Canadian money. And you’ll be helping the planet while doing it.
As if that weren’t enough reason to like Radiohead, frontman Yorke has been bluntly — and refreshingly — candid about how not-wonderful the music is. No misplaced ego here.
“It’s not very interesting,” he told the media, deadpan.
But wait, there’s more.
“There’s a lot of it,” he added.
He’s not completely wrong, a music critic for the music site pitchfork.com noted: “Contextless recordings put out under duress in an unwieldy and unabridged format do not make for an ideal listening experience.”
Ah, yes, but now you can help save the planet.
“As it’s out there,” Yorke said,
“It may as well be out there
“Until we all get bored
“And move on
June 11, 2019.
That is all