MiniDiscs (Hacked)

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MiniDiscs [Hacked]
Cover of MD111, the first of the MiniDiscs
Compilation album by
Released11 June 2019 (2019-06-11)
LabelSelf-released; distributed via Bandcamp
Radiohead chronology
OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017
''MiniDiscs [Hacked]''
Kid A Mnesia

MiniDiscs [Hacked] is a compilation of recordings by the English alternative rock band Radiohead, made while they were working on their 1997 album OK Computer. It comprises more than 16 hours of demos, rehearsals, live performances and other material.

The recordings are taken from MiniDiscs belonging to the singer, Thom Yorke, and were not intended for release. After they were leaked online in June 2019, Radiohead released them through the music sharing site Bandcamp for 18 days, with all proceeds going to the environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion.

The compilation received positive reviews. Though critics said that its size made it daunting for some listeners, they praised the insight into the making of OK Computer.


MiniDiscs [Hacked] contains more than 16 hours of demos, rehearsals, outtakes, and live performances recorded while Radiohead were working on their third album, OK Computer (1997).[1] It includes unreleased songs, alternative mixes, early versions of OK Computer songs (such as an extended version of "Paranoid Android"), and versions of the later songs "Lift", "True Love Waits", "Nude", "Last Flowers", "Motion Picture Soundtrack" and "Life in a Glasshouse".[1][2]

The recordings are taken from MiniDiscs belonging to the Radiohead singer, Thom Yorke.[1] Though some had been released on the 2017 OK Computer reissue OKNOTOK 1997 2017,[3] most were not intended for release.[1]


The recordings were taken from MiniDiscs (example pictured with battery for scale).

On 5 June 2019, the recordings were leaked online by a collector using the name Zimbra, who said he had traded them for unreleased Beatles recordings.[4] They may have been stolen while archived material was being prepared for the OK Computer reissue.[4] The guitarist Ed O'Brien said they had been hacked from Radiohead's cloud archive.[5]

According to conflicting reports, Zimbra initially demanded a $150,000 ransom from Radiohead not to release the recordings.[6] However, according to an investigation by Pitchfork, Zimbra had instead hoped to sell them to fans.[4] Zimbra told Pitchfork that "the whole $150k thing and 'ransom' was taken way out of context".[4] A fan who negotiated with Zimbra said he did not believe extortion was his intent: "He never told us anything to suggest he was trying to get money from the band, only from fans."[4] Zimbra released the recordings free after news broke on the discussion platform Reddit.[4]

On 11 June, Radiohead made the recordings available to stream or purchase from the music distribution site Bandcamp for 18 days.[7] All proceeds went to the environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion,[2] raising approximately £500,000.[8] The official release removed a 12-minute field recording and non-Radiohead material, such as several minutes of a James Bond score.[9] The guitarist Jonny Greenwood wrote on Twitter that the collection was "only tangentially interesting",[10] while Yorke wrote on the Bandcamp page: "As it's out there it may as well be out there until we all get bored and move on."[1]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
The Guardian[12]
The Daily Telegraph[13]

Pitchfork wrote that MiniDiscs [Hacked] did not "make for an ideal listening experience" and would be of interest "only to the most diehard Radiohead fans". They observed a "few moments of brilliance (and strangeness)", including Yorke's acoustic songs, the extended "Paranoid Android", and an alternative version of "Lift" that "could have topped the charts".[1]

However, The Guardian felt MiniDiscs [Hacked] had merit "even for less nerdish fans", and wrote that was "an endlessly interesting chronicle of a band reinventing the mainstream by rejecting it ... [It shows] the inner workings of what is regarded by many as the greatest album of the 1990s, showing how they walked alongside and then turned away from the brash Britpop that surrounded them."[12]

The New Statesman wrote that "starting, skipping and scrolling" through the lengthy tracks "makes for a surprisingly liberating experience, akin to wandering Radiohead’s subconscious memory palace and occasionally encountering the familiar in a different form".[14] The Quietus praised the "stunning" live performances and particularly Yorke's demos, and wrote of the "unromantic revealing" of the process of creating music.[15]

Track listing[edit]

External document
MiniDiscs (Hacked) – a fan-made Google document cataloguing the recordings at the time of the leak

Each MiniDisc is included as a single track lasting approximately an hour; the contents are not broken into individual tracks.[14][16] Fans assembled a Google document to identify songs and timestamps.[16]

All tracks are written by Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Philip Selway, Ed O'Brien and Colin Greenwood.

Total length:16:18:52


  1. ^ a b c d e f Larson, Jeremy D; Greene, Jayson (12 June 2019). "The best, weirdest, and most revealing moments on Radiohead's OK Computer sessions leak". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b Terry, Josh (11 June 2019). "Radiohead officially release 18 hours of leaked OK Computer sessions". Vice. Retrieved 14 December 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Gottsegen, Will (5 June 2019). "18 hours of unreleased material from Radiohead's OK Computer sessions leaks online". Spin. Retrieved 11 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hogan, Mark (12 June 2019). "Radiohead fans vs. black-market sellers: the battle to leak the OK Computer tapes". Pitchfork. Retrieved 12 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ Adam Buxton (20 July 2020). "Ep.128 — Ed O'Brien". The Adam Buxton Podcast (Podcast). Event occurs at 12:35. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  6. ^ Sisario, Ben (11 June 2019). "After 'OK Computer' Demo Leak, Radiohead Releases the Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  7. ^ Terry, Josh (11 June 2019). "Radiohead Officially Release 18 Hours of Leaked 'OK Computer' Sessions". Vice. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  8. ^ Monroe, Jazz (9 April 2020). "Radiohead's Ed O'Brien: 'Humanity has only really learned from disaster'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  9. ^ Kreps, Daniel (12 June 2019). "30 must-hear minutes from Radiohead's 17-hour OK Computer-era MiniDiscs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 13 June 2019.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Trendell, Andrew (11 June 2019). "Radiohead respond to "hackers" and release 18 hours of previously unheard OK Computer material in aid of Extinction Rebellion". NME. Retrieved 15 September 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "MiniDiscs [Hacked] by Radiohead Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  12. ^ a b Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (12 June 2019). "Radiohead: MiniDiscs (Hacked) review – blueprints for the best album of the 90s". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  13. ^ Power, Ed (12 June 2019). "Radiohead, MinidDscs [Hacked], review: an 18-hour Black Mirror episode set in Thom Yorke's head". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  14. ^ a b Harrisson, Andrew (13 June 2019). "Radiohead's OK Computer sessions are a place of liberation". New Statesman. Retrieved 15 June 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Anderson, Darran (20 June 2019). "Reviews | Radiohead | MiniDiscs [Hacked]". The Quietus. Retrieved 7 September 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ a b Blistein, Jon (11 June 2019). "Radiohead release 18 hours of OK Computer material after leak". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 June 2019.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]