From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A record shop (or record store) is an outlet that sells recorded music. Although vinyl records are no longer sold in the majority of music stores, in favor of compact discs and audio cassettes, people still use the term "record shop", in conjunction with "CD shop" or "music shop".
Originally record shops were private run and independent businesses, meaning that prices could differ greatly from town to town, store to store. Today music shops are largely chain owned and thus prices are fairly similar regardless of the wealth of the town. In the United Kingdom the national chain style of selling records and tapes took off with Our Price, itself originally a small independent business founded in the early 1970s that expanded nationwide.
Competition (like any major business) is fierce, proven by the closure of Our Price in 2004 after several rival chains emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, including HMV, Virgin Megastore and MVC. Around the world, the traditional record stores (chain or independent) are currently suffering from mail order (most notably on the Internet), as well as supermarkets selling recorded music, and digital downloads.
Because of the above, several major chains in the UK and North America have closed or shrunk in recent years. In addition to Our Price, Andys Records, MVC and Media Play have ceased trading. Tower Records closed all its British and United States outlets in recent years. Even chains that are still major players such as Virgin have had to close some stores (most notably their ones at Gatwick and Heathrow airports). Virgin also had to drastically reduce their presence in the American market. Sam Goodys, a major player for many years, has also closed dozens of stores recently, and Canada's long running Sam The Record Man finally closed the door's of its flagship store in downtown Toronto in the summer of 2007.