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Arts Post
Posted at 05:12 PM ET, 12/15/2011

Lost iPod: Can you identify the owner solely by the playlist?


Take the challenge to reunite a lost iPod with its owner using only the playlist. This is not the actual lost device. (Paul Sakuma - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

UPDATE 12/20/11: We have found the owner of the iPod. She was very excited to hear about this endeavor but also, of course, to get her iPod back. Come back to this post for more of the story, to be updated soon.

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A Washington Post reporter goes jogging with his wife and comes across a lost iPod along the trail. There is no one nearby and no obvious way to post a notice about the orphaned electronic. Curiosity strikes — what songs are on the owner’s playlist?

Listening to someone else’s music feels like poking through the medicine cabinet — invasive and yet oddly intriguing for a wandering mind: What kind of person likes Cake and Jackson 5?

The personal nature of a playlist also means that each iPod should be unique. But is this musical fingerprint unique enough to identify this iPod’s owner?

The challenge: Using the list of songs below, help us find the owner of the lost iPod. Here’s what we know so far:

* The song “Godzilla” by Blue Oyster Cult from the album “Blue Öyster Cult: Super Hits” is the most recently added song to the iPod. It was added 11/24/11 18:58.

* The first song added was “Just a Little Hole” by Beth Hart from the album “Screaming for my Supper.” It was added 8/6/06 9:00.

* The playlist includes the entire albums of: G. Love’s “Fixin’ to Die”; two Cake albums “Fashion Nugget (Deluxe Version)” and “Comfort Eagle”; Adele’s “21”; Beth Hart’s “Leave the Light On”; Brandon Flowers’ “Flamingo”; Macy Gray’s “The Trouble with Being Myself”; MIKA’s “Life in Cartoon Motion”; Pat Benatar’s “Greatest Hits,”Robert Plant’s “Band of Joy”; Stevie Nick’s “In Your Dreams (Deluxe Version),”; The Black Keys’ “Brothers;” Train’s “For Me, It’s You”; Traffic’s “The Definitive Collection”; and Van Morrison’s “Super Hits.”

* The most popular genre on the iPod is Rock with over 220 songs.

* The longest song is 11:44 — “The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” by Traffic from the album “The Definitive Collection.”

* The shortest song is “Race Car Ya Yas” by Cake clocking in at 1:21.

* View the entire playlist below (or open it in a new window) and fill out the form if you have information to contribute:

Frequently asked questions:

Q: How did you determine what songs are on the iPod?

A: We plugged the iPod into a computer and pulled the list of songs into a spreadsheet.

Q: How can you be sure you’ve found the right owner?

A: We are withholding a few particulars like location found and device type/color in order to verify that we’ve found the right person.

Q: What if I don’t have anything to contribute?

A: We’d love your help sharing this post with someone who might be able to point us in the right direction. Also, we’d love to know your thoughts about the etiquette of returning lost items and how best to find the owners of stray electronics. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

By  |  05:12 PM ET, 12/15/2011

 
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