Virgin Megastore on Michigan Avenue will soon be joining Tower Records in retail oblivion. The 21st Century just hasn’t been kind to record stores. Not helping matters, of course, is the fact that “record stores” is a term that’s already 25 years out-of-date.
The end of Tower was a warning shot. The digital revolution has moved swiftly and without mercy, and music retailers are collateral damage. It’s hard to get excited about walking into a retail outlet when iTunes offers instant gratification for much less money. And while iTunes doesn’t offer every title under the sun (”Gothic Kabbalah” by Therion, where are you?), they have more than enough to satisfy mainstream America.
I never thought much of the Virgin Megastore. They did seem to have some depth to their shelves, but the prices were well in line with its Michigan Avenue address. Selfishly, I’m glad to see it go because that particular store was the focus of one of my most fevered work nightmares. I’ve bolted upright many a night in fear that my career would spiral down so earth’s crust-low that I’d have to take a gig as the in-store D.J. at Virgin. “Thanks for shopping Virgin. Don’t forget, the new Fergie album is on sale for $11.99. I’m James VanOsdol, and what am I going to do with all that junk, all that junk inside my trunk? I’m going to play more hits on Virgin Megaradio, that’s what!”