Billy Corgan has revealed he paid ransom to a hacker so they wouldn’t leak several songs from Smashing Pumpkins’ three-act “rock opera” ATUM.
During an interview with KROQ’s Klein/Ally Show, Corgan revealed that the hacker got their hands on nine songs from the album roughly six months ago — right when it was about to be mixed and mastered. Thanks to the FBI, he was able to track down the hacker and prevent the leak.
“They were all probably the most catchy, single-y type songs,” Corgan said. “So it’s like, not only is it six months too early, you’re pretty much giving away the album before you even have a chance to set your feet into the ground. Somehow, some hacker was offering the files for money, and we were able to trace it and pay off and keep it from leaking. The FBI got involved… I don’t know how they got what they got.”
Specifying that he paid the ransom “out of my pocket,” Corgan continued, “What we were able to do was stop the leak from happening, because it was a mercenary person who had hacked somebody — I don’t want to say who — and they had other stuff from other artists. It wasn’t like some Pumpkins fan that was hellbent on breaking it on Reddit. Somehow, they gave some information that allowed the FBI to track them.”
Though Corgan doesn’t know the “end result” of the investigation, he said the mercenary hacker had some other “shocking” leaks in their possession, including “classic stuff from bands of the past probably doing reissues.” Listen to the full interview below. The hacker story begins around the 8:15 mark.
Each act of ATUM (pronounced “autumn”) was released separately, with the final installment dropping today, May 5th. It serves as the follow-up to Smashing Pumpkins’ 2020 album CYR. In August, Corgan and company will embark on “The World is a Vampire Tour” alongside Interpol and Stone Temple Pilots. Tickets are available via StubHub, where orders are 100% guaranteed via Stubhub’s FanProtect Program.