Shortstack Records’ Instagram is an unintentional guerrilla marketplace


Expand There are just 2 reasons my phone will start ringing extremely in the middle of the day: either my group chat is exploding, or Shortstack Records is posting brand-new arrivals to Instagram. Recently, nevertheless, I was offered an agonizing reminder that I’m not the only one who subscribes to publish alerts from the store’s account. Amongst the haul of desirable records added that afternoon was an original pushing of Songs: Ohia’s The Magnolia Electric Co., a record I have actually been hunting for my entire adult life. I have its cover art tattooed on my arm. So my heart rate skyrocketed while I called the shop’s number as quickly as my thumbs would allow.

“Sorry,” stated the individual who responded to, “it sold a couple of moments back.” It was entered just over a minute.I went to

Shortstack the following Thursday to speak with Cal MacLean, the store’s owner and, I soon learned, the man on the other end of that call. “You was among four people who employed simultaneously,” he said with a knowing laugh. “It really came down to the wire.”

My story was clearly not distinct. Exactly what is distinct, however, is the way MacLean uses Instagram to get individuals delighted about his shop.

Shortstack Records(@shortstackrecords )on Jul 15, 2018 at 10:48 am PDT Shortstack is situated in the back of Queen West basement thrift shop Black Market, where the high-end of intricate window display screens are a far-off dream. Looking for an affordable outlet to engage with consumers, MacLean embraced Instagram as his chief marketing tool.

“I’ve constantly had an interest in ways to innovate the record shop,” he states. “There’s over 50 [record] shops in Toronto, so you need to use what you can to set yourself apart, and that’s exactly what’s working for us.”

Given that the shop’s opening in November of 2015, Shortstack has actually built up over 3,000 Instagram fans, more than a number of the city’s larger, more tenured stores. And they’re engaged followers, to say the least.

MacLean’s method is simple: he publishes one record at a time, and captions each with the date and country of production. He’s mindful with his selections, choosing the more distinctive discovers over crowd-pleasers, though he publishes plenty of the latter as well. Checking out the page resembles having a fresh dog crate of desired records dropped in front of you. Fast, though, as a number of them offer within minutes.

Shortstack Records(@shortstackrecords )on Jul 27, 2018 at 10:31 am PDT MacLean didn’t invent this technique– a variety of other record stores in the city use Instagram to display what’s in-store, and some also post in-demand gems. What sets Shortstack apart is how it’s dedicated entirely to the types of records that provide collectors heart palpitations. That’s the reason so numerous examine Shortstack’s page with such frequency, and it’s why a lot of the records are nabbed up within minutes.

When I ask MacLean his trick, he provides a couple of stray thoughts prior to concluding, “I guess I’m talking around the concept that I have no idea. It feels like a continuous experiment.”

For MacLean, though, this experiment doesn’t start or end with selling records online. He’s especially cautious of that. The reason you will not see prices listed on his posts is that it opens up the floodgates for other questions, and none relate to his vision for the store.

“Generally it’s shipping, or like bartering, instant messages. There’s always this risk it’s going to topple to being an online store. And after that it’s a whole various beast. We’re a brick-and-mortar store initially.”

MacLean’s M.O. is to make Shortstack the best 380-square-foot record shop it can be. Its skillfully curated and maintained Instagram existence isn’t suggested as a different market but rather a display of exactly what you’ll discover in the store. He’s fixated on filling the deep bins with the type of records– like shop favourites All Things Should Go By George Harrison, Black Flag’s My War and Can’s Tago Mago– that make people choose up the phone in the first location. MacLean echoes this sentiment when I ask him for guidance on how to not miss out on out the next record I’m likely to agonize over.

“If people are in the shop and I have actually got a cage of stuff I will post, I’ll state, ‘Hey, examine it out,’ because I do not want individuals to phone in and snipe something someone in the shop could have gotten. That’s where the top priority lies. So that’s your best shot.”


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