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DA: Man Hacked ‘International Superstars,' Sold Unreleased Songs for Cryptocurrency

The names of the recording artists affected were not initially released

What to Know

  • A man was arrested Friday on suspicion of hacking "world-famous recording artists" and selling their unreleased music
  • A 19-year-old was arrested in England on Friday
  • The names of the recording artists hacked were not released

A man has been arrested on suspicion of hacking "world-famous recording artists," stealing their unreleased music and selling it for cryptocurrency. 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson announced the arrest of the 19-year-old suspected hacker in Ipswich, England, Friday in a joint press release.

The man allegedly accessed artists’ websites and cloud-based accounts illegally to steal unreleased songs, before selling the stolen music in exchange for cryptocurrency. The artists were not named in the press release, however the City of London Press Office said there were more than two victims and all the artists were American, some Grammy-award winning.

The Manhattan D.A.’s Office said it launched the investigation after receiving referrals from the recording artists’ management companies. It then identified one of the alleged perpetrators, which led to Friday's arrest through its partnership with the City of London Police.

Police said they targeted people involved with streaming the illegally obtained music, with the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) executing searches of a property in North London and a property in Ipswich. 

PIPCU Detective Inspector Nick Court said the arrest marked a significant point in their investigation into those who steal music and stream it illegally. "This sort of crime causes significant financial loss to those who work so incredibly hard to produce, write and make music for their fans to love and enjoy," he said.

The arrest comes after hackers reportedly stole unreleased music from English rock band Radiohead and asked for a $150,000 ransom earlier this year. 

Band-member Jonny Greenwood took to social media June 11 to tell fans that, instead of paying the ransom, the band would make the 18 hours of music available for download.

. In a coordinated day of action targeting individuals involved with streaming illegally obtained music, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) executed searches of a property in North London, UK, and a property in Ipswich, UK.
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