Almighty Press


December 27, 2007
Virgin Megastore to close shop

The Sunset Strip music outlet had added 'lifestyle' products for sale, but the rent was too stiff, an executive says.

By Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Another one bites the dust. The Virgin Megastore on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, just down the street from the shuttered Tower Records, will close when its lease is up in January.

The rent is simply too high, Simon Wright, chief executive of Virgin Megastores North America, said Wednesday.

"We're trying to reposition the business," Wright said, "and a lot of our stores are too big for the future, primarily due to the drop in music sales."

The chain -- which Related Cos., a New York-based real estate company, purchased in September for an undisclosed amount from Virgin Entertainment Group -- has been turning its focus away from CDs and stocking more clothing, games, pop-culture knickknacks and books.

It has also been downsizing, closing stores in Chicago and Salt Lake City this summer. After January, there will be 10 Virgin Megastores in the U.S., four of them in California, including one on Hollywood Boulevard that opened two years ago.

"It's a challenging time," said Geoff Mayfield, a senior analyst at Billboard magazine.

Sales of compact discs were down 23% last week from the same period in 2006, Billboard reported, as people continue to turn to the Internet for music. Meanwhile, Best Buy Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other retailers account for at least half of album sales, Mayfield said.

The trend felled Tower Records in 2006. Other local music stores that have shut down include Strawberries and Musicland. Nationwide, about 2,700 music retailers have closed since the beginning of 2003, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail. In Los Angeles, the number of pure-play record stores has dropped by half since 2003 to about 140.

At Virgin Megastores, music sales account for 40% of revenue today, Wright said, compared with 70% four years ago. December same-store sales were up 5% from last year, and Wright said same-store sales for the year would rise 13.5%.

"We're really turning the Megastores into lifestyle stores," he said. "We don't want to have to rely on music for future survival."

Amoeba Records, with locations in Hollywood, San Francisco and Berkeley, tells a contrasting story. Amoeba has a broad selection of music, sells used discs and is a young company with good prospects, Mayfield said.

For music lovers, Amoeba will be one of the few places to shop in the neighborhood after the Virgin Megastore closes, said Justin Goldberg, founder and CEO of online music network Indie911, whose offices are a few blocks from the Sunset store.

"It's a real loss for the community of people who really know their stuff about music," Goldberg said, adding that he did most of his holiday shopping at the Virgin Megastore in New York, where he bought books, CDs and DVDs. He shops at the Sunset store for box sets of music, complete with liner notes and photos, that are difficult to get online.On the website Yelp, where people review vendors in their communities, Andrew Sevrin, who works with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, recommends the Sunset store for books and DVDs. "It's a shame they're closing," he said.

Sevrin and Goldberg said they didn't see the Virgin Megastore near Grauman's Chinese Theatre as a good alternative to the one less than two miles away on Sunset.

"It's so inconvenient with parking and everything," Goldberg said. "It's really more of a tourist trap."

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Article List

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March 27, 2013 - Glendale News-Press - It's a matter of record: Burbank's Atomic Records and Backside

December 30, 2012 - Detroit News - As one record shop closes, vinyl music plays on in another

April 20, 2012 - Boston.com - New vinyl album releases give record stores a kick

November 20, 2011 - Salon.com - In an iTunes age, do we need the record store?

June 9, 2011 - NJ.com - Curmudgeon Records closes its doors for good

April 16, 2011 - Wall Street Journal - One-Day Record-Store Revival

February 1, 2011 - Charlottesville News & Arts - Plan 9 Changes Location

August 13, 2010 - The Tennesean - Anita Wadhwani: Nashville indie record stores' sales spin in right direction

January 3, 2010 - Delaware News Journal - Delaware music shops get creative to compete with downloads, chain music stores

September 24, 2009 - Los Angeles Times - L.A. independent record shop is still in a groove

August 20, 2009 - CNN Money - You can make money off online music

June 14, 2009 - New York Times - Retailing Era Closes With Music Megastore

May 13, 2009 - Medill Reports - Resurgence in vinyl helps record store in recession

April 26, 2009 - Los Angeles Times - In a digital age, vinyl albums are making a comeback

April 18, 2009 - Charlotte Observer - Record stores band together

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April 17, 2009 - Associated Press - Record Store Day celebrates indie retailers

April 10, 2009 - Detroit News - Street Corner Music moving to Oak Park plaza

April 10, 2009 - Toledo Free Press - New record store shakes up Adams Street

January 8, 2009 - OC Register - Closing date for Virgin Megastore at The Block

October 28, 2008 - Reuters - AC/DC back in "Black" with global smash

September 23, 2008 - Chicago Daily Herald - Independent music stores haven't yet disappeared from suburbia

June 23, 2008 - New York Times - For Tom Petty Fans, the True Sound of Vinyl, Also Captured on a CD

April 19, 2008 - Lafayette Journal Courier - For some, record stores live on

April 19, 2008 - New Jersey Star Ledger - It's Record Store Day. Play it again, Sam!

April 18, 2008 - New York Times - Record Stores Fight to Be Long-Playing

April 18, 2008 - Dallas Morning News - Retailers hope Record Store Day turns up volume at mom-and-pop shops

April 16, 2008 - Timeout New York - Platter Up

December 27, 2007 - Los Angeles Times - Virgin Megastore to close shop

December 16, 2007 - New York Times - For a "Dinosaur," an Exuberant Second Life (Looney Tunes Reopens)

December 3, 2007 - Detroit Free Press - The same old song: Music store closing

November 7, 2007 - Washington Post - Eagles soar past Britney to top of charts

November 4, 2007 - The Ledger - Two Young Entrepreneurs Unafraid of Risk of Going on Records

August 20, 2007 - Billboard - Almighty Taps Hans As VP

June 29, 2007 - ABC News - Long Live the Record Store

June 28, 2007 - Orange County Weekly - Locals Only

June 13, 2007 - Reuters - McCartney's Starbucks album heats up U.S. charts

June 9, 2007 - Billboard - Commentary: Retail Recovery

May 9, 2007 - Columbia Free Times - High Fidelity

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March 16, 2007 - Chortler - Shout! Factory Has Revamped Its Website

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March 4, 2007 - Sacramento Bee - New groove for Solomon

February 28, 2007 - USA Today - Exclusives aim to pull music fans into stores

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February 23, 2007 - Montpelier Bridge - Buch Spieler Sails On Despite a Music Industry Decline

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October 20, 2006 - Sacramento Bee - Tower brand could survive

October 15, 2006 - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Tables have turned on record stores

October 14, 2006 - Sacramento Bee - Small labels lose valuable ally in Tower

October 6, 2006 - Desert Sun - Record Alley remodels

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September 19, 2006 - New York Newsday - 34 years, and that's not all, folks

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July 11, 2006 - Roanoke Times - Record store's "last dance"

July 5, 2006 - Port Townsend and Jefferson County Leader - Quimper Sound moves, expands to change with times

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May 10, 2006 - Detroit MetroTimes - Out of the Groove

March 18, 2006 - Billboard - Indies in a bind

January 16, 2006 - Los Angeles Business Journal - Slipped Discs

January 6, 2006 - Los Angeles Times - Indie record stores doing slow fade out

December 26, 2005 - Los Angeles Times - The Music Stops for Indie Shop

December 1, 2005 - Rolling Stone - Fall Sales Dry Up

October 13, 2005 - Desert Sun - Music snobs rejoice: Independent record stores still thrive in desert

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August 18, 2005 - New York Post - Oldies are now singing a new tune - Music stores go digital

July 2005 - Rolling Stone - Record Biz Still Sinking

June 18, 2005 - Billboard - NARM Noms Announced

March 21, 2005 - CMJ - Hart of the Matter

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January 14, 2004 - Creative Loafing Charlotte - Manifest Destiny

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November 13, 2003 - Rolling Stone - Best Buy snags rights to band's new DVD

October 9, 2003 - USA Today - Best Buy wins sales rights to Rolling Stones DVD box set

October 6, 2003 - Reuters - Stones Paint It Black For Retailers

May 31, 2003 - Billboard - Retail Track

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