Posted in music on March 1, 2009

Circuit City / Virgin (pic via Racked)
Circuit Virgin

"And then there were three.

The Virgin Megastore music chain will close its Union Square location in New York City at the end of May and its Market Street store in San Francisco at the end of April, sources say. The company previously announced that its Times Square store would close in April.

In August 2007, the Virgin Entertainment Group North America was acquired by two real estate companies -- the Related Cos. and Vornado. Since then, the chain has been reduced from 11 units -- with the industry awaiting word of the fate of the three remaining stores in Denver, Los Angeles, and Orlando"
[MSNBC/Billboard/Reuters] (thx rob & liz)

Circuit City, right next door, is going out of business too.



Comments (77)

we need amoeba.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:19 PM

maybe theyre just going to change it from virgin to slut

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:25 PM

all i need is an amoeba

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:25 PM

corporate america is so incredibly stupid

Posted by gregory | March 1, 2009 10:25 PM

good news for small record stores

Posted by gregory | March 1, 2009 10:26 PM

no jobs lost though.
they only had cashiers and security at the door
no one else seems to have worked these stores
and security was rented.

Posted by gregory | March 1, 2009 10:28 PM

so sad. are they planning on replacing that with another forever 21, too?

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:32 PM

we really need Amoeba....those cool bags you get and everything

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:32 PM

there's already a forever 21 next door...

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:45 PM

really good news for Other Music. First Tower and now this.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:48 PM

Whispers it could be a Wal-Mart...

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:48 PM

It might be good for Other Music in the short term, but these closings also suggest that maybe even they won't be able to survive in the long term.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:48 PM

now we can build more nyu dorms

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:56 PM

"now we can build more nyu dorms"

More NYU dorms mean more revolutions! Viva La Revolución!

"Whispers it could be a Wal-Mart..."

makes sense.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 10:59 PM

what an ignorant thing to say, "no one seemed to work in these stores"

yes, in the last few months, scheduling was cut drastically because of a shrinking payroll budget, but also because the store was never crowded enough to need 15 people on the first floor to cater to a customer's every whim.

there were product merchandisers for music, dvd and clothing, buyers, processors, managers, people who put together the in-store events, as well as cashiers and security (who are not third-party)

Posted by liz | March 1, 2009 11:18 PM

This is going to be terrible for Union Sq. The entire retail face of that (shitty) building is going to be dead. It'll be a giant black hole in on 14th St.

Posted by V | March 1, 2009 11:24 PM

It would have been good news for small record stores if most of them in the city had not closed their doors already.

I've never been a big fan of Virgin Megastores, but they were the last ones of their kind left in the city. All my life, one of my favorite things has been browsing in record stores and coming back home with a few good findings. I feel like I don't need to go out for shopping anymore.

Most people here pretty much get all their music needs over the Internet. You might not understand this, but this is bad news for everyone. Those of you will never know the joys of record shopping in a big city before the stores started closing one by one.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 11:31 PM

Agreed, this is pretty sad. When push comes to shove, Virgin Megastore is a record-store first and foremost. We need to preserve these stores as best we can, even if they are owned by a corporation. I always found virgin to have a pretty good selection anyway, even though their prices are a little steep.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 11:46 PM

All you need is Amoeba???

While Amoeba might have the size and volume, Aquarius Records is a far better and more personal shoppping experience. It's the Other Music out west. And besides, those living around NYC and are proclaiming you need Amoeba...shame on you. GO SUPPORT LOCAL NYC RECORD STORES! other music, soundfix, ear wax, and many many others.

Posted by Anonymous | March 1, 2009 11:59 PM

Beyond it being sad for music and the buying of music it's part of a starker signal being sent about the future 25% unemployment rate we're headed for in the coming years.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 12:02 AM

did the times square location already close?

Posted by tim | March 2, 2009 12:03 AM

Peace out.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 12:22 AM

Yes, a store like Amoeba would be a godsend to music lovers in NYC. If all you're interested in is indie, stores like Other Music and Soundfix might do the trick. I am glad they exist and I visit them, but the music sold there (and mentioned on this site) accounts for only about 10% of the music I listen to. I need my jazz, classic rock, Americana, classical, import pop and singer/songwriter albums, etc. etc. For most of these, the likes of Other Music and Soundfix are pretty much useless.

If you had to find a new jazz album the day it came out, you could likely find it at Virgin. This will no longer be a possibility in a city like New York. It is very sad indeed.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 12:27 AM

Crap! Where am I going to go when I'm bored and want to listen to some music on headphones and never buy anything?

Posted by Confused Man | March 2, 2009 12:29 AM

Screw Amoeba. We need a FYE.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 12:49 AM

Well, new york does have a handful of borders, and as painful as that is, if you really need a new jazz release the day it comes out, they will provide. but it is an enormous shame.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 1:03 AM

Don't forget about J&R too. They've got a great music selection....

Posted by Anon | March 2, 2009 1:09 AM

Team Amoeba!

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 1:45 AM

that was a great store. I could always find something to buy - and the cafe was nice and convenient. Where else is there in union square now for meeting, hanging out, etc?

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 3:40 AM

i'm sorry, i do shop at other music and sound fix but those stores are small and don't stock a lot.
i like sam roberts. most of you probably have never heard him or heard of him. he's great. finding his album at either of those two above mentioned indie stores? unless a promo in the used bins, probably unlikely... amazon or something else is the main route to go in manhattan/brooklyn for titles like that.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 9:22 AM

any rumor that they will be bringing back the original palladium club, not those crappy nyu dorms

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 9:35 AM

"Crap! Where am I going to go when I'm bored and want to listen to some music on headphones and never buy anything?"

At the Barnes & Noble Music and DVD Department right across the park of course! They have those red dot systems so you can listen to stuff.

Posted by Matthew | March 2, 2009 9:36 AM

I killed a good amount of time and found some really good stuff moving around the headphones section of this store. Kind of sad...

Posted by BTW | March 2, 2009 10:42 AM

I'm pretty bummed about this. I loved shopping at Virgin.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 10:56 AM

Iam sad to. Went to many good instore and signing events...they were fun!

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 11:01 AM

sad I agree with 12:27 the lack of a good diverse record store is what will loose me. I love J&R but its in an area I never go to. It this point I'm stuck with buying my music all online. Sad 30 years of looking for music is now gone for me.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 11:03 AM


Have you guys been buying music from our fine local record shops?

I work/worked in a darkroom and saw lots of photo suppliers go out of business in the last five years. I shoot on the fastest color 120mm film, which is actually not all that popular. I'm always afraid if I stop buying it, they will stop making it.

I know I'm quickly becoming a fossil, but I like having the physical object. If you like cd's, if you like vinyl, if you like browsing an actual store, spend your money where you spend you time.

Posted by Aaron | March 2, 2009 11:03 AM

this is awful. pretty soon, there are going to be zero music stores left in the city. (i don't see how indie stores can survive when stores like virgin & tower can't.) the only place you'll be able to buy cds is at electronic stores (though not circuit city anymore) or book stores.... and how good of a selection can these places really have? looks like i'll be primarily ordering from now, which is ridiculous considering i live in manhattan-- you think there'd be a decent, well-rounded place to buy music. also, i guess in-store performances & signings are going to be become a thing of the past... and that's really a shame. i went to so many of them. i have so many good memories of meeting the artists & getting my cds signed as a keepsake. when i moved to nyc that was one of the things i was most excited about-- that i finally got to attend these signings that i kept hearing about. now we're no better than peoria.

if you're a music fan, this is bad, bad news. who cares if virgin was a big, evil chain (though i would definitely argue otherwise)? the simple fact is, i bet everybody who reads this blog has bought at least one thing from virgin... and definitely spent multiple hours browsing.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 11:16 AM

I heard some circuit city employee tell a customer like two weeks ago that the virgin megastore in union square is becoming a nordstrom instead. If there is any truth to that which btw I haven't heard about else where, the whole store closing thing sucks alot.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 11:28 AM


Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 11:39 AM


there was a deal that fell through a few months ago that would've turned the bottom floor into a nordstrom, gotten rid of the cafe, dj booth, etc.

Posted by liz | March 2, 2009 12:21 PM


Have you guys been buying music from our fine local record shops?"

Yes. I buy a lot of music from record stores, especially Other Music and Soundfix. If I couldn't find what I wanted at an indie store, Virgin was always a nice place to check.

People who are into music and don't support local shops really blow my mind, especially musicians.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 12:35 PM


i hope they open a strip club in the virgin megastore space.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 12:36 PM

I don't understand how a store that mostly sells things of no intrinsic material value can't be more flexible. Virgin had really good sale prices, which i'll miss. But normal CDs are like $19 there. Completely out of the question.

The unnecessary glut of food and clothing sold next-door should have a much slimmer profit margin, and yet they persist.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 1:12 PM

sad news. i discovered and became a fan of so many bands at instore performances there. first tower, kim's moving out of st. marks, now this! well, definitely support the stores that are left: permanent records in greenpoint, academy, generation records on thompson street, other music, fat beats, and whatever is left of soundfix!

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 1:42 PM

Yeah, I wish Virgin would have just done away with their clothing department, cafe (which they did at Times Sqaure... though they turned it into a Rock Band area, which isn't much better) & all that tchotchke NYC bullshit they sold by the registers. Maybe even their book department too, which was never up to par (who bought their books from Virgin?). Maybe if they just sold music & movies they would have at least lasted a bit longer. But all the other shit just pulled them down.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 1:48 PM

i always enjoyed walking around virgin before meeting up with a friend. i never bought anything there anyway. oh well i guess...fuck corporate america. only helps the INDEPENDENT records store.

key word you guys-INDEPENDENT

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 1:52 PM

I bought Zoolander there. Watching it will never be the same!

any record store closing is a bad thing. Record stores are where the music is.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 2:21 PM

Well this sucks! Say whatever you want but the Union Square store had a great selection of music, including loads of indie stuff.

Plus they had DVD sales, music magazines you have to struggle to find elsewhere and their in-store performances!

I'm gonna miss it :(

It was probably making a profit and only got close out of greed, like the Times Sq store!

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 2:26 PM

1:42PM said it.

everyone should give Generation Records on Thompson St your business. great record store and a great band t-shirts downstairs and vinyl and all that good stuff.

there are plenty of good record stores. yelp should be able to help out. virgin is not the be all end all, even though it's a good store (or WAS a good store.. it's gone to shit over the last ten years)

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 2:31 PM

Vornado bought the chain for the real estate. even if Virgin was profitable, Vornado bought it for the explicit purpose of shutting it down...

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 2:33 PM

Rocks in Your Head: what happened? moved, then closed, or still around in some form?

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 2:34 PM

wait, so both stores are closing? If they can't survive in NYC, how can they survive in Denver or Orlando??!?!? RIP Virgin Records. Definitely the place to be when waiting for my always-unpunctual friends.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 2:45 PM

For all the haters that think we’re this big corporate behemoth, it ain’t like that. In fact, for the last few years Union Square has attempted to act as a mom and pop store within the corporate framework. We carried the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah debut album before it got distribution because we liked them and wanted to sell it. We set up cool displays that featured obscure and underground artists in order to turn people on to artists not on our Top 30 chart. We hosted instores for Spoon, Calexico, Glasvegas, The Shins, Au Revoir Simone and lots of local bands. So cut us some slack in our last days, okay?

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 3:04 PM

Wait! Comrades! - This is part of the CHANGE we voted for!!

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 3:35 PM

Are there going to be liquidation sales, or will the inventory just be redistributed to the remaining outlets? Sorry to see you go, btw. :(

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 3:51 PM

The Times Square store is already in the process of being liquidated. I think they're up to 40% off CDs & such. I'm sure Union Square will follow suit. (Although their regular prices were high, Virgin's sales & promotions were great. Even with a 40% off liquidation, some of the CDs & DVDs were cheaper as part of the $10 sale, for example.) I hope Virgin comes back some day! Maybe when the economy straightens out? (If they're still keeping a few other US stores open.)

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 4:26 PM

1- how many times must it be said that Virgin WAS an independent store? with less stores than amoeba, because it still has the Virgin tag that should have been dropped when Richard Branson sold the stores to Vornado, it is still seen as a corporate soul-sucking entity. some people are such sheep...go read the communist manifesto for the 100th time and sip coffee at your overpriced mom n pop coffee shops listening to Iron & Wine for the 4,000th time.

2- Generation records sucks---the assholes who work there patronize their customers by sneering at any music choice they don't deem up to par with their tastes which are limited. albiet, the illegal bootlegs they carried were pretty good.

3- sucks to hear about etherea, i liked it there and the guy who ran the store never looked down on me for working at a box store... he respected that i still came to him to find vinyl.

Posted by liz | March 2, 2009 4:48 PM

they had a good selection of 45s not too long ago.. picked up some good solo Beatles on Apple.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 5:00 PM

all of the US virgins are closing by summer:

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 5:29 PM

am i the only one who loves house of oldies on carmine street in the west village?

that place is great, the dude who owns it is probably the friendliest purveyor of music in nyc.

Posted by scott | March 2, 2009 5:40 PM

those smaller stores can't compare to the virgin selection - a real loss for music fans.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 6:19 PM

is rocket scientist still around?

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 7:27 PM

i know that many of you out there, especially in brooklyn, are afraid of being called a limousine liberal or hippycrit, but it's ok to both be a hipster and like virgin megastore. just b/c a guy in a suit is making money off of it doesn't mean you can't be a part of it. no matter what you do (like rent an apt in williamsburg, buy food from local grocery or restaurant, buy skinny diesel jeans, or whatever) somewhere down the line, some corporate guy in a suit is making money off of you. you can't hide.

Posted by Anonymous | March 2, 2009 11:29 PM

How does a corporation make money if you rent an apartment in Williamsburg from a non-corporate landlord?

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2009 6:00 AM

Rocks in Your HEad was good. I still like Bleeker St Records but they are expensive...

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2009 7:38 AM

Bleecker St Records' prices are ridiculous, but I will say, they have a sick selection of vinyl.

Posted by Anonymous | March 3, 2009 1:26 PM

good riddance, corporate scum. don't let the last century hit you on the ass on the way out.

Posted by patanjali | March 4, 2009 12:13 AM

They gonna put a homeless shelter there...






Posted by Anonymous | March 4, 2009 3:38 AM

soundfix recommends that people listen to psychic ills. can't trust people that retarded.

plus they didn't even order the new john frusciante record.

i still like goin there, but they are kind of stupid.

Posted by Sacred Absolute Hipster Cow | March 4, 2009 1:15 PM

new model?
Stop charging 16.00 for a cd when the cost to manufacture them is next to nothing at this point.
Have docking stations to plug in and download music into an external device or computer for a reasonable price.

Posted by Anonymous | March 16, 2009 1:01 PM

It is very sad

Posted by Anonymous | March 26, 2009 2:58 PM

This only means one thing:
The Times Square area will go back to it's days of Smut and porn shops. It was in the 90's when Virgin and the All-Star cafe came through and made Times Square the clean place to be.

Posted by Jules Johnson | April 3, 2009 11:17 AM

Jules, I think you're confusing "Virgin and the All-Star cafe" with Rudy Giuliani.

Posted by Anonymous | April 3, 2009 11:40 AM

please support Rebel Rebel on Bleecker as well.
great little record store with a surprisingly good selection.

Posted by Anonymous | May 5, 2009 1:00 PM

This is not good for smaller music stores I don't think. Perhaps in the short term, but I think in the long term, music stores, as sad as it is, will continue to be totally replaced by digital distribution. i don't think that the people who shop at virgin are now going to go to their local NYC neighborhood music shop. First off a lot of people shop at virgin for the DVD's and the atmosphere for browsing and shopping etc...and if those people want music, they will probably just hit up itunes.

Posted by Zach Maxwell | May 5, 2009 3:18 PM

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