A Photo Survey of Abandoned Record Shops


We recently explored a photo survey of video stores that have faded to black since the digital marketplace takeover, which got us thinking about other ephemeral media. Just a few weeks ago it was reported that Times Square record haven Colony Music — founded in 1948, and with an inventory of more than one million LPs — would be closing its doors. Colony is one of many large chain music stores and indie record shops that have called it quits since the rise of high def formats, web retailers, and the popularity of digital downloading. It’s a phenomenon that’s being explored in documentaries like Last Shop Standing — about the rise, fall, and rebirth of indie record shops in the UK — which hits DVD today. (The filmmakers are encouraging audiences to purchase the movie locally.)

If you grew up ritualistically hunting for vinyl or cassettes and relied on knowledgeable record store employees for recommendations à la High Fidelity , you’ve definitely been feeling the pangs of loss as these stores quickly collapse around us. Click through our gallery of abandoned record shops — including several landmark stores — to remember the fine art of crate digging and the passionate music communities that made them awesome.

Sam the Record Man — Toronto, Canada

Image credit: Ro b

Gunsman Records — Savannah, Georgia

Image credit: MilkaWay

Washington’s Cafe and Record Shop — Springfield, Illinois

Image credit: straightedge

Belmar Record Shop — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Image credit: congoeels

Caroline Records — Dublin, Ireland

Image credit: lasgalletas

Coachman Records — Detroit, Michigan

Image credit: DetroitDerek Photography

ThisN’That — Margate, England

Image credit: Southern Driver

Record Shop — London, England

Image credit: ross mcross.

Discolandia — San Francisco, California

Image credit: dogwelder

Vinylmania Records — New York, New York

Image credit: Joshua G.

Tower Records — Costa Mesa, California

Image credit: boutmuet

Record Time — Ferndale, Michigan

Image credit: kid marmite

Dancetracks — New York, New York

Image credit: Tim Varney

Zodiac — London, England

Image credit: blackisz

White’s Records — Detroit, Michigan

Image credit: buckshot.jones

Disco Maghreb — Oran, Algeria

Image credit: Bled Runner

Mojo Music — Cambridge, Massachusetts

Image credit: AntyDiluvian

Image credit: Torin C (Mojo during its last days)

Billups Records — Buffalo, New York

Image credit: congoeels

Rockit Scientist Records — New York, New York

Spotted via: Ev Grieve

Bleecker Bob’s Records — New York, New York

Spotted via: Ev Grieve

Inbeat Records — Montreal, Canada

Spotted via: Late Nights

Tower Records — West Hollywood, California

Image credit: xero79

Image credit: Edwin Folven

Golson Music — Detroit, Michigan

Image credit: J.harwood

Virgin Megastore — New York, New York

Spotted via: Racked

Image credit: trick77 (Virgin during its last days)

Vinyl Fever — Tampa, Florida

Spotted via: TBT