Tunes to Thrift By

Macklemore_-_Thrift_ShopI’ve been waiting a while to put this song on my blog. I LOVE IT. But some will be offended by the f-bombs and other offensive language in it, so if that’s you, skip it and keep reading.

If I owned a thrift shop, this song would definitely be on the playlist (there is, apparently, a bleeped out version that I might opt for.) I’d also add some Dan Mangan, Said the Whale, Keb’ Mo (who I just discovered), Jack Johnson, Xavier Rudd, Wailin’ Jennys and yes, even the Beach Boys. I might add some Yo Yo Ma to the mix but I’d choose his Appalacian Waltz CD, not his Bach one. Cheerful, happy tunes – that’s what a shopper wants.

This week, I had a conversation about music with a friend who works in a thrift shop. She’s one of the folks who chooses what shoppers AND volunteers will listen to while the shop is open (note the distinction between listening audiences, I’ll get to that in a minute.) She thinks she’s choosing a wide variety of tunes but sometimes the volunteers that the music is too classical, or too serious, or… not enough “top-40-Christian”.


There have been all kinds of studies done about the effect that music has on shoppers. Loud music makes people shop faster. Apparently French music in a wine store will increase French wine sales. German music translates into German wine sales. Classical music is popular but can also be associated with wealth and make people think that it’s an expensive store. So clearly, the tunes you play are important.

Tell that to a volunteer. Most volunteers want to listen to their favourite tunes while they’re sorting and pricing in the back of the shop. But that music may not be what motivates a shopper to spend money in your shop – and isn’t that the point, after all? In a perfect world, you’d have separate sound systems for the floor and for the back, but most shops don’t have that luxury.

So, what do to? Tunes for shoppers or tunes for volunteers? What would be on your thrift shop play list?

This entry was posted in music, second hand, thrift, thrift lifetstyle, Thrift Shopping, thrift shops and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tunes to Thrift By

  1. pattyjoy1 says:

    Angelika, it really isn’t that difficult or expensive to provide good music in the retail space AND to provide the volunteers with a different style. As far as what genre of music, that depends a lot on the environment you want to create. Thrift is unique…….giving people music that is relaxing allows them to take their time and look for that really special treasure. Regular retail music really doesn’t work that well with thrift. Being sensitive to the diversity of people that shop in thrift shops I think is a key.

    As far as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s song and video Thrift Shop, it is brilliant sans the inappropriate language. I love it! Does it make good shopping music – not necessarily because in my opinion it is the video that makes it brilliant! However, when considering music for a shop, in my mind it is worth thinking carefully about the customer demographics and bringing music diversity to fit those specific preferences.

    So, I guess I am saying you can please both the retail space and the volunteers……..with a little technology and ingenuity it is not expensive any more.

    • ah yes, demographics is a very good point. when you think about most retail stores, they’re usually geared to a specific demographic, so you’re right, thrift is a little unique that way. I wonder if that makes it even more challenging?

  2. pattyjoy1 says:

    Angelika, and when we talk customer demographics we have to apply a time of day to that too – depending on the time of day will make a difference in who is shopping……….so to plan a full day of music you can certainly mix the genres to fit the people shopping in the store.
    We have come a long way in 40 years……….analysis is the key!

Comments are closed.