ENVIRONMENT

Hackers Held Radiohead Music For Ransom. The Band Turned It Into A Benefit For Climate Action.

Instead of paying $150,000 for stolen archives, the rock group released them to raise money for Extinction Rebellion.
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (on piano) of the group Radiohead perform onstage on Aug. 20, 2017, in Macerata, Italy.
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood (on piano) of the group Radiohead perform onstage on Aug. 20, 2017, in Macerata, Italy.

Hackers made off with 18 hours of unreleased Radiohead music last week in hopes that it would lead to an easy payday. But instead of forking over the ransom money, the British rock group released the archived music as a benefit for climate activist group Extinction Rebellion.

Guitarist Jonny Greenwood announced the theft and ransom attempt in a Tuesday post to Twitter. The stolen music dates back to when Radiohead recorded its 1997 album “OK Computer.” The hackers threatened to release the files unless the band paid $150,000, he said.

“Instead of complaining ― much ― or ignoring it, we’re releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion,” Greenwood wrote, adding that fans would be able to purchase the collection for £18 ($23) for the next 18 days.

“Never intended for public consumption (though some clips did reach the cassette in the OK Computer reissue) it’s only tangentially interesting,” Greenwood’s post reads. “And very, very long. Not a phone download. Rainy out, isn’t it though?”

Extinction Rebellion is an international climate action movement that started in the United Kingdom and has held numerous protests to demand action on planetary warming and the biodiversity crisis. The group thanked Radiohead for its support in a post to its website. 

“The climate and ecological emergency demands courage, truth-telling and generosity like never before,” Extinction Rebellion wrote. “We are so grateful to Radiohead for showing us how that’s done. ... Words are inadequate but actions do change the world.” 

CONVERSATIONS