Do You Love Musical Conspiracy Theories? If So, This One with Brand New is a Doozy

You know what’s missing from today’s music? Mystery.

Back in the days before the Internet–even better: before the days of music videos–music stars lived in another dimension. The precious little we knew about them was derived from listening to the music, pouring over liner notes, studying artwork and hoovering up whatever info we could get from music publications. Outside of still photos, the only chance we got to see them in action was at a concert. If they played in a city near you. And if they didn’t tour at all, well, you were screwed.

Today, though, there’s very little we don’t know about our musical heroes. That sense of mystery has all but evaporated.

Not entirely, though. Groups like Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Nine Inch Nails and even U2 have become adept at dropping hints, creating wild goose chases and encouraging various levels of fan engagement that offer descents into strangeness. Fans love it.

However, none seem to be as good as Brand New. Their level of rat hole conspiracy snipe hunt is beyond almost anything we’ve ever seen. Noisey tries to unravel it all.


Earlier this month, Brand New quietly dropped its highly anticipated fifth album by sending out 500 hand-numbered CDs to a group of fans that had pre-ordered the album on vinyl. The enigmatic nature of the album release gave rise to a number of conspiracy theories about the band’s intentions, but it wasn’t long before Brand New confirmed that the album was Science Fiction, its first full-length record in 8 years. This put an end to many of the conspiracy theories surrounding the album release, but last weekend fans found themselves confronted with a brand new Brand New mystery.

The latest point of intrigue centers around a post titled “72” that was posted to r/BrandNew on Saturday by the account ax20fb0a7, which had been created earlier that day. The original content of the post has since been removed, but ax20fb0a7 left a comment linking to the website (there is also a mirror of the website at Here, visitors will find a collection of 7 apparently random numbers and little else.

The post quickly galvanized a group of Brand New-loving redditors dedicated to solving the mystery, and they’ve created a log of their accomplishments in a separate post on the Brand New subreddit. As the redditors quickly discovered, the username of the original poster ax20fb0a7 can be decoded as ‘November 6, 2017’ in the following manner: A (1) x 2 = 11 * 0 + F (6) = 06 * B(2) + 0 = 20 * A(1)+7=17. This might seem like a stretch given the number of code changes in the username, but the theory that the username itself is referencing 11/06/2017 is bolstered by the 7 numbers on the actual website.

The first code posted to the website on Saturday looked like this: .19726 / 2.36712 / 10.28571 / 72 / 1728 / 103680 / 6220800. As the redditors discovered, if each of these numbers are mapped to years/months/weeks/days/hours/minutes/seconds, they all equal 72 days—and 72 days from the date of the original posting is November 6, 2017. Each day, the numbers on the website update so that they count down to November 6.

Oh, this is just the start. If you’re the kind of person who longed to solve Cicada 3301, you really need to keep reading.

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.

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