There are thieves in a St. John's man's Spotify algorithm
His girlfriend's computer was stolen with his Spotify account open
There was a cruel reminder in a St. John's man's year-end Spotify playlists on Friday.
As 2017 comes to an end, Spotify, a popular music streaming service, is sending users algorithmically generated lists of the tracks they listened to the most over the year.
Spencer Bellows's lists include tracks that were played by people using his Spotify account on a computer that was stolen from his girlfriend, Andrea Dunne.
"I hadn't thought about it for a while, but then I saw this and I was like, 'Oh. Look at that,'" he said.
According to his playlist recommendations, the top two most listened-to songs on his Spotify account were Young Bratz and Revenge by 19-year-old Florida rapper XXXTentacion — not an artist Bellows enjoys.
"They listened to those on my account more than I listened to anything else all year," he said.
They took the chicken nuggets
That computer was stolen this spring when thieves broke into Dunne's house while she and her roommates were sleeping.
They also took some drinks and snacks from the kitchen.
They took the booze out of the cupboard and the chicken nuggets out of the freezer.- Spencer Bellows
"They took the booze out of the cupboard and the chicken nuggets out of the freezer," said Bellows.
A few weeks later, Bellows noticed his Spotify favourites list contained tracks he'd never listened to.
He checked his account and saw that someone was using it from a MacBook.
Dunne had had a MacBook, and it was logged into Bellows's Spotify account when it was stolen.
Police asked Spotify for IP
When Bellows realized what was going on, he and Dunne contacted the RNC with the lead. Bellows said the RNC's legal team contacted Spotify and asked if the company would give up the IP address of the computer streaming the XXXtentacion tracks.
The RNC told Bellows chances were slim; since Spotify is a Swedish company, their data is subject to Swedish data privacy laws.
"I think [those laws] are pretty tight," said Bellows.
"There are international treaties for this kind of thing, but they're bogged down with not just petty crime, but things like homicide and serious crimes."
Spotify didn't respond to the request for the IP address, and it didn't respond to a request for a comment from CBC News either.
Belows has since logged his account out of the stolen computer and changed all of his passwords and the computer theft has been wiped out of his Spotify algorithms — mostly.
"It's recovering," he said.
In fact, he said he was even able to laugh a little at the jarring reminder of the event when his year-end playlists showed up in his account Friday.
"It was scary at the time but now at least this is something to look back and laugh at," he said.