Branson tells Stuart Maconie on BBC Radio 6 Music that his Virgin stores were the first time music lovers could go to a proper store. An ad for the store:
There are no dopes at Virgin Records, that’s because all our customers are cool. They know a swell joint when they see one.
The alternative was to go to a very staid Woolworths or Menzies to buy your music, it was incredibly dull, and this was the first time that people could come into a record shop and it would have pillows on the floor, there were bootlegs on the wall. There were people that actually knew about music, who went there to talk about music, and if you did smoke a joint sitting on the pillows you weren’t going to be told to leave the store. It was a proper music shop.
That attracted a crowd:
There was a shop in Liverpool which we opened… and the first week the takings were £20,000 and the next week it was £19k, next week £18k and it got down to about £500 and I decided I’d better go up to Liverpool to find out what was happening, and it had become a club. There was no way anybody could get to the till to buy any music. It was just a place that every single person in Liverpool went to hang out, and it was a free club of course. So that went a little bit too far