Radiohead fans get unreleased music as group thwarts hacker’s ransom demand

Thom Yorke of the band Radiohead performs solo in concert during the opening night of his “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes Tour” at the Franklin Music Hall on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018, in Philadelphia. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

Someone stole Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s 1991-93 collection of raw music stored on MiniDiscs, a largely antiquated 1990s digital storage system meant to replace the compact disc but ultimately itself replaced by recordable CDs.

The discs themselves weren’t taken, but the music stored on them — mostly demos and bits of music used for the album, “OK Computer” — was copied and held for ransom.

Pay $150,000, the thief warned, or the music would be released online.

Yorke thought about it — and decided to release all the raw music to Radiohead fans. Roughly 18 hours of music from 18 MiniDiscs, all for the price of $23.

The money would go to a climate advocacy group in England, Extinction Rebellion.

If you don’t want to buy the music, you can stream it for free.

In the end, it’s a win for Radiohead fanatics, a plus for an environmental advocacy group and a big loss for a blackmailer.

The thief wanted $150,000. Instead, he has copies of music now worth $23.

The music is for sale on the music website, Bandcamp.

You can buy and download the contents of all 18 MiniDiscs as a download — which is about 1.8 gigabytes of data for the mp3 version. A lossless flac version is also available, but is a much larger download.

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