I was in Los Angeles and witnessing the death of Virgin Record Stores, as the “final 2 days” of sales of all merchandise in the Los Angeles store sounded the death knell of a once-thriving industry,
First, it was Denver and Orlando Virgin Mega-Stores that closed. Chicago soon followed suit. Word was that Virgin Entertainment Group North America was getting extremely low rent in very desirable locations and, as a result of that and the general struggling of the music industry, Virgin was bought out by Vornado and related real estate companies in 2007. In New York, for example, the store was only paying $54 a square foot in an area where rent easily runs $500 a square foot.
The demise of Virgin in Los Angeles (pictured here during its final 2 day sale at 80% off) follows on the heels of the closing of Tower Records in 2006. Tower had been established in 1960. In England, a similar closing Zavvl Music occurred, and FYE closed very recently as well.
The high cost of CD’s, the advent of downloads and MP3’s, a glut of product on the market, and the economic crisis can all be blamed for the fall of Virgin in the United States, but, with the closing of the Los Angeles store, a once-thriving business with locations in major cities has joined Tower Records on the scrap heap.