Arcade Fire Files Multiple Lawsuits Over “Millennial Whoop.” Wait–What?

The what? You know, the “wha-oh-wa-oh” vocal pattern we hear in, like, a billion songs. Arcade Fire claims ownership based on things like the signature hook in “Wake Up.”

Billboard tries to explain:

As both [music and product manager Patrick] Metzer and the various suits filed by Arcade Fire argue, the Millennial Whoop musical sequence alternates between the fifth and third notes of a major scale, typically starting on the fifth, while the rhythm is usually straight 8th-notes, starting either on the downbeat or on the upbeat. A singer typically belts these notes with an “Oh” phoneme, often in a “Wa-oh-wa-oh” pattern—precisely, the band claims, the trademark sound of “Wake Up,” which appears in nearly all their subsequent hit songs.

An abbreviated list of performers who have been served, and their contested songs, includes Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Good Time,” Demi Lovato’s “Really Don’t Care,” Katy Perry’s “California Girls,” Fall Out Boy’s “She’s My Winona,” Twenty One Pilots’s “Ride,” CHVRCHES’s “The Mother We Share,” Chris Brown’s “Turn Up the Music,” Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody,” and Imagine Dragons’s “Monster.” All have been sent cease and desist letters. The band is considering adding a host of “soundalike” songs which they allege feature their Millennial Whoop which have been used in commercials for products, such as cars and online dating sites, specifically targeting the millennial demographic.

Ah. I see. Here are some the cited violators.

Now the punchline: all the above accusations are FAKE. Arcade Fire just mocked up a Billboard story as part of some weirdo marketing campaign.

Take a closer look at the URL for this page. Notice that the domain is The domain for the real Billboard is And take a look at the ads on the fake page. Now it all comes into focus, right? Hysterical.

Up next:  some punk trying to trademark the WHOAAAA-AAAHHHHSSS gang vocals. Jeebus…

(Via Danny)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “Arcade Fire Files Multiple Lawsuits Over “Millennial Whoop.” Wait–What?

  • July 24, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I feel like they’re going to have a seriously hard time proving prior art on this one.

    • July 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      It’s actually only a marketing campaign Daniel–a joke.


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