Bottom line: Much of the audio in the archive was never meant for public consumption but due to an unfortunate set of circumstances, it's now available to anyone that wants it. Plus, your contributions will be going to a cause that's near and dear to the band.

English rock band Radiohead has released 18 hours of studio recording sessions after a hacker stole the archive and threatened to release it unless a $150,000 ransom was paid.

On its Facebook page, Radiohead posted the following:

We got hacked last week - someone stole Thom's minidisk archive from around the time of OK Computer, and reportedly demanded $150,000 on threat of releasing it.

So instead of complaining - much - or ignoring it, we're releasing all 18 hours on Bandcamp in aid of Extinction Rebellion:

Just for the next 18 days. So for £18 you can find out if we should have paid that ransom.

A few things stand out as unusual. First, Radiohead seems unsure of the ransom - the perp "reportedly demanded $150,000." Surely, if anybody would know about a ransom, it'd be the band, no? Also a bit peculiar is the fact that the recordings were seemingly published online nearly a week ago. Why would someone seeking a ransom post the material online for free? And with the recordings leaked online, anyone that really wanted them could get them before Radiohead posted them for sale.

That said, it's not necessarily bad news for the band. They're getting some unexpected publicity and the opportunity to raise money for a cause they care about. What's more, die-hard fans are getting a rare opportunity to listen to content that was never intended for public consumption.

Lead image credit: Radiohead by Christian Bertrand