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Radiohead release hacked ‘OK Computer’ sessions, officially

Radiohead release hacked 'OK Computer' sessions, officially

Last week, work-in-progress audio from the sessions of Radiohead‘s 1997 album OK Computer were leaked and appeared online. The band have confirmed they were hacked and have responded by making all 18 hours of the audio available, officially.

Radiohead guitarist Johnny Greenwood revealed today that “someone stole Thom’s minidisk archive” and was reportedly demanding $150,000 on threat of releasing it.

The band have responded by making the 18 hours of audio available for download, for a mere £18 and all the proceeds go to the Extinction Rebellion movement.

See Johnny’s tweet below and head to their Bandcamp page to buy 18 hours of audio that you never knew you wanted!

53 responses to Radiohead release hacked ‘OK Computer’ sessions, officially

  1. Olivier says:

    I don’t buy this hacking narrative. “Let’s invent a story about the sessions being hacked…”…This is pure marketing shite so people will buy the demos.

  2. Adey says:

    I wish i still had my md recorder and a load of discs, so i could transfer the download onto minidiscs, for that “authentic” feel.
    I used to think they would do better than cdr, as you could drop them on the floor in the car without scratching the disc!

  3. Adey says:

    this wouldn’t happen with David Bowie recordings, if they were “hacked”. Instead, we would see 18 (or even 36) limited edition (novelty) 7” boxsets priced at £60 each, all complete with a couple of black and white postcards

  4. Mark's Ism says:

    Not that I condone blackmail, but is anyone else wishing it was the Kid A/Amnesiac sessions instead? I do like OK Computer a lot but I think that would be the holy grail for me. Mind you, ultimately, the working tapes are probably best left to the imagination – and (speculating wildly) it could have been 50 discs for 50 quid.

    • deceased says:

      I’m hoping that this is so successful that they do the same with the Kid Amnesiac Sessions, they were already doing stuff with the sessions for some kind of re-release so here’s hoping…

  5. bruce kelso says:

    even tho I am not a fan this is unbelievable. 18 hours ? no other major act would ever do this. can you see the stones .blur, prince , bowie, u2 doing this. what should be done is put it out on cd and make it available to all with the money going to charity .

  6. Rashers says:

    I’m confused about the audio format here. Original MiniDisc used ATRAC – which was a compressed and not widely supported format (that torpedoed MiniDisc – which was terrific for the time, but included copy protection). Later models (well after Ok Computer) had the option of uncompressed PCM. It may be that the band have high quality lossless versions of the music (and the minidisc thing was just for portablility) and that’s what they put up on the website – otherwise what you are buying is lossy music – extracted to WAVa and then recompressed to MP3 or Ogg Vorbis or AAC. If the source is ATRAC you would be better off using the Flac file format to avoid double compression.
    I have piles of bootlegs from the Ok Computer era – probably including this material (I’m sure Radiohead obsessives already have it). Listened to some of it once…..

  7. -SG- says:

    Radiohead found a very cool solution to this problem. Talk about immersive, it puts to shame the half hearted 2 disc set from last year which seemed more about packaging than what we have here. Despite the critical accolades given to OK Computer, I always found the album to be a real frustrating release, leaving out crucial songs, previewed live, and seemingly overcomplicating others, it is a brilliant record, but, it also felt like a record that had been re-recorded a few times. At times it felt overthought when I first heard it, seeing this tip of the iceberg collection here, sheds light to the intense perhaps even torturous process they went through; And Yet….this is still not everything from that era. I highly recommend the disc 15 version of Lift, much better than what eventually got released. This is only available for 18 days so don’t sit on the fence if you have any passing interest here. I don’t think they will be offering this ever again. Anyone doing a comparison will find some of these discs are shorter than what was leaked, as all non radiohead material has been removed. Mind these were sourced from 90’s minidiscs, so these are not 100% audiophile quality from master tapes, unlike the 24 bit files of the cassette tape from the oknotok box set, though these are one generation up and have been mastered quickly for release.

  8. patjoller says:

    as a hardcore fan I’m delighted to own this. It’s my generation’s Beatles and it’s like having a part of their “Anthology”. And kudos to Jonny’s “Big Lebowski” reference.

  9. jon says:

    sadly the tracks arent split up- each minidisk is 1-2 hours long, give or take
    you will have to listen that way or manually split the tracks up.

  10. Normand says:

    Bad News/Good News : Robbery/Gift. But I will hope for an eventual LP/CD format.

    • Jason W says:

      I’m quite sure radiohead wouldn’t release 18hrs of demos etc on either CD or LP. Though maybe some company boffin will think there’s money to be made.

  11. Gary C says:

    Some good folks have put together the track list with plenty of notes

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kA8u6UhjbutZ-b7TXzmX4qkOTg6nGC1vPg50WwCcZyo/mobilebasic

  12. MusicFan says:

    I don’t understand how they could be hacked and why such old recordings are stored on a network server allowing them to be ‘hacked’.

    This doesn’t add up! Surely files this old would be in offline storage, perhaps in a studio vault or even on a hard drive in someones cupboard!

    Yes for sure someone took the recordings but I doubt they were ‘hacked’!

    I can imagine there is more to this story.

    • Caroline says:

      They were digitized from Yorke’s archive when the OKNOTOK editions from 2017 were being prepared. Some of the material is on the C90 that came in the box.

      The most common story is that the files were pinched by an intern at XL but doubt has been poured on this elsewhere.

  13. Shane says:

    Yes why nor minidisc reissues, at least they are high quality as opposed to cassettes. I mean nobody plays them anyway. I do still have a pretty good hifi component and minidisc walkman!

    • stevieb says:

      Me too Shane. As my music purchasing money is committed for this week it’ll be next Tuesday when I buy this. Does anyone on here know if the files come with track titles of other info. Thanks.

  14. Dean says:

    Given the amount of material there is, it’s shocking how little effort they put into the last release of this album which was supposed to celebrate the anniversary. They clearly had tons of stuff fans want – they just didn’t want you to hear it.

  15. Don says:

    I remember moving heaven and earth to get U2’s Axtung Beibi outtakes, similar to this. I never listen to it and I’m a U2 super fan. It’s mildly interesting. That said, 18 pounds is a fantastic deal for those completists who want to listen to hours of studio noodling.

  16. Paul E. says:

    Can anyone that purchased this via Bandcamp comment on the audio formats available? The release notes caution that the MP3 download is 1.8 GB but is it also available in FLAC?

    I find Bandcamp very frustrating in that they remain (intentionally?) vague in their audio options only stating “high quality” for downloaded releases. In some cases you can grab hi-res FLAC files but other times only MP3. A bit of a gamble as you never know what’s available until you pay for the download – kind of why I hate downloading in the first place.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      I got the WAV file option, which is 16 bit / 44.1. There is FLAC too. Bear in mind the source of these are mini-discs, so that’s the limiting factor.

    • Scott G says:

      The download is available for 18 days https://www.radiohead.com/deadairspace

      Bandcamp download options are:

      MP3 V0 – 1.8GB
      MP3 320 – 2.2GB
      FLAC – 5.6GB
      AAC – 998MB
      Ogg Vorbis – 1.2GB
      ALAC – 5.8GB
      WAV – 9.7GB
      AIFF – 9.7GB

    • Caroline says:

      “I find Bandcamp very frustrating in that they remain (intentionally?) vague in their audio options only stating “high quality” for downloaded releases.”

      This isn’t really true. You can always download in a variety of formats. You can’t upload MP3s to Bandcamp, the lowest you can upload at is a FLAC file.
      Bandcamp can only provide from what they’re given; if a track is uploaded at 24-bit or at at 48khz (or both), that’s what you’ll get but it’s up to the artist to flag these things. I’ve been using Bandcamp for several years – since it was in beta development, in fact – and I have never NOT had the option to download a FLAC or a WAV file.

    • steve says:

      You can literally have any format you want. I got AAC, better than 320 mp3. I don’t need demos filling up my hard discs but at first listen its sounds great.

  17. David Bourgoin says:

    Sounds like rather a good publicity stunt to me.

  18. Gary C says:

    brilliant idea, brilliant cause too. Had a listen on the site to some of it. Some real gems there

    Ignore the reactionary comments…a great shot in the arm for Extinction Rebellion, and a shed load of press for the cause too.
    This weekend they will be in Lewisham to educate and inform as they have done around London

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      We have some ‘pro’ and ‘con’ comments about Extinction Rebellion. No more, please :)

  19. Andrew Greenwood says:

    It’s not clear how long this will be up for so thought I’d better buy it now (although goodness knows when I’ll get round to listening to it). Now, if only the Bob Dylan full Cutting Edge bootleg came out as a download for £20 (yes I know it’s out there on torrents but an official release would be nice)

  20. Stan Butler says:

    I won’t be putting any money towards Extinction Rebellion. Shame on Radiohead.

  21. Scott G says:

    Should also mention it will only be available (on Bandcamp) for the next 18 days till Friday 28th June.

  22. Silica says:

    PS … Thanks to Paul/Super Deluxe Edition Team as well, i would have missed this for sure.

  23. Ken Harris says:

    Extinction Rebellion are an extremist hard left Marxist anarchy group of thugs.Sorry but I won’t ever buy anything that helps their nasty commie anarchy agenda.

    • Ben in Colorado says:

      I agree. A bunch of nut jobs. Not a penny from me.

      • Chris Squires says:

        Absolutely agree. Nice in theory and there is a way to get there but not in the hands of these idiots. Not a penny from me.

    • steve says:

      Lol, they were outside my office in Oxford Circus for several days and I can say with confidence that they weren’t. A real broad cross section of friendly people, young and old and not a thug in sight.
      Thanks for the heads up Paul.

  24. Silica says:

    Well, seems some good has come from a rather sad incident. Once again Radiohead seem to have come up with a very clever solution. Money to a charitable cause, giving the fans some really interesting music (which may or may not have ever seen the light of day). Also beating a rather disturbing blackmail situation. I for one have to say it’s brightened up a very dull & wet day. Some great stuff on those Minidiscs, a real trip down memory lane for those that used them first time around too. :-)

  25. Gisabun says:

    Tweet says $150,000. Article says £150,000. A slight difference there!

  26. AdamW says:

    Was really hoping for a minidisc box set, but this will do, I suppose.

  27. poptones says:

    Radiohead was hacked so instead of paying $150,000 to the thief, they will release the tapes for a ransom of £18 per buyer. Hail to the thief !!!

  28. stevieb says:

    What a great outcome to a nasty event, and one in the eye for the thieves! More than happy to pay for this, just about my favourite (non-Beatles) album, and money for such a great cause too.

  29. Adam says:

    Been listening to it since last week when it was leaked onto the internet, if you’re a fan of the Band as i am, you will definitely be rewarded with a trawl through it. A lot of different versions of songs, and quite a few songs that only saw the light of day on recent albums in different forms. There’s also live and Thom bedroom demos.

    There’s speculation that the 18 hours worth was the edited highlights Thom had gone through (as it’s not just studio sessions in chronological order) before whittling it down to what appeared on the 2017 special edition Ok Computer cassette -as there is overlap with the Cassette.

    There are some superior versions on this mind, especially the version of Lift compared to what was released on the aforementioned 2017 special edition.

  30. Stuart Fleming says:

    £21.60 with UK VAT

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