Mystery Song's Origin Stumps Online Sleuths

With only 17 seconds of the New Wave song recorded, no one has cracked where it came from
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2023 7:30 AM CST

Can you name this tune in 17 seconds? If so, you'd be the hero to a community of online sleuths who've been tracking down its origin for the last two years. Rolling Stone covers the quest to crack the case of "Everyone Knows That," which has also been dubbed "Ulterior Motives." The mystery began in 2021, when user "carl92" from Spain uploaded the audio file to the crowdsourcing site He labeled it "Mid 80s, Bad quality" and explained that he had "rediscover[ed] this sample between a bunch of very old files in a DVD backup. Probably I was simply learning how to capture audio and this was a left over."

Posing this challenge to the community found no answers, and it's since become the site's "most infamous and enduring submission," receiving the most comments since WatZatSong launched in 2006, per Rolling Stone. In June, a dedicated subreddit, which now has more than 6,000 members as of this writing, got on board. "Why are people obsessed with it?" forum moderator "cotton–underground" told the magazine. "On one hand, it's an incredibly catchy and recognizable tune, while on the other hand loaded with mystery. Especially in 2023, with everything digitized and music freely available, it's probably very interesting to a lot of young people that this song is seemingly untraceable."

While there are plenty of apps that can help you find the name of a random tune from just a few notes, more obscure music takes a little more elbow grease. Internet sleuths have tried using AI to finish the song, while also having fun with the mystery by generating memes and remixes. There are countless sources that have been theorized (from an unreleased track to an ad jingle), but all leads have thus far led to dead ends. Others are convinced the song is a hoax that was planted by a troll, which isn't uncommon (this is the internet, after all). "Sadly, as of now, there have been no solid leads and far, far more hoaxes have existed," said user "sodapopyarn," another forum moderator.

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In one such hoax, known in the community as the "michael92 incident," a user uploaded a longer fake track to WatZatSong that had voice-over in Japanese dubbed on it. Hoaxes, plus the snippet of the song, make the mystery harder to crack, but hope hasn't been lost. "People within the community will always come and go," said sodapopyarn. "But I truly believe the community as a whole will never die until the song is fully found." Another piece of lost media, or "lostwave," that internet detectives are loyally spending time on is a song that goes by "Like the Wind," also known as "The Most Mysterious Song on the Internet." Per Boing Boing, it was taped from German radio sometime around 1984, and though the full audio file exists, its origins have remained a mystery since the early 2000s. (Certain music can be a form of medicine).

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