The first Musicland store is opened in March 1956 at 5th and Hennepin in Minneapolis by Terry Evenson, financed by a $5,000 loan from Evenson's parents. Evenson's friend Grover Sayre later joins Musicland.


Evenson sells Musicland to Amos and Dan Heilicher, who had been his music wholesalers. Heilicher Bros. merges Musicland with their J.L. Marsh Company, the rack-jobbing arm of the Heilicher operation.

Musicland has 15 stores in cities including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Milwaukee, Fargo, and Omaha.


Now with 48 stores in the Musicland chain, Pickwick International acquires Heilicher Bros. and J.L. Marsh in a merger deal. Initially, Amos Heilicher is the head of the new entity.


Pickwick acquires 49 stores of the Discount Records chain from Columbia for $3.9 million.


American Can Company purchases Pickwick International to help expand its consumer product distribution.

Sam Goody Inc., with 28 stores in the New York and Philadelphia region, is purchased by American Can and merged into the Pickwick retail operation.


Following financial setbacks, Pickwick is split into two companies: Pickwick Distribution for wholesaling, and the Musicland Group — composed primarily of Musicland, Sam Goody and Discount Records stores — for retail.

In June, Jack Eugster, a top executive at The Gap and former operations manager for Target Stores, is hired to head up Musicland. Eugster will remain with Musicland for the next two decades.


Sam Goody Inc. is found guilty in federal court of dealing in counterfeit tapes. The bogus sales, involving more than 100,000 tapes valued at more than $1 million, occured in 1978 and 1979.


Musicland acquires 24 Harmony Hut stores.


The first Paramount Pictures store, later to become known as Suncoast, opens in Roseville, Minnesota.

Musicland acquires 34 Licorice Pizza stores in Southern California and 26 Record Bar stores from Record Bar, Inc. for $13 million.


American Can Company becomes Primerica and sells 19 percent of Musicland in a public IPO.

Musicland acquires Musicden Retail Corporation, a 21-store chain based in Texas with locations in seven states.


Musicland's president, Jack Eugster, and 15 other senior managers purchase Musicland in a $410 million leveraged buyout. Musicland becomes privately held. A new entity called Musicland Stores Corporation is formed during this process.

Paramount Pictures stores are rebranded to Suncoast Motion Picture Company. Musicland now operates 616 stores nationwide.

The number of Discount Records stores is now 12, located in college campus areas.


In July, the first issue of Request magazine is published.


Sam Goody stores founder, Sam Gutowitz, dies at age 87.

Since going private, Musicland has opened or acquired 391 additional stores for a total of 1,003 stores as of June. Musicland employs about 10,000 people.


The first Media Play store, Musicland's new big box retail format, is opened in Rockford, Illinois. Initially sales are strong, tracking at a rate of more than $10 million annually.

The first store in Musicland's rural store concept, On Cue, is opened in Fairmont, Minnesota.

Musicland (NYSE: MLG) goes public again, issuing its second IPO of 16 million shares at $14.50/share.


Musicland launches a customer loyalty program called the Producer's Club, later called Replay.


As of June there are now 64 Media Play stores operating, on track to reach about 85 by year end.

The number of On Cue stores is now 109.


The company begins to phase out the Musicland name on its retail stores in favor of the Sam Goody name.

Musicland returns to profitability this year after closing more than 100 poorly performing stores, having previously posted losses of $135.8 million and $193.7 million in 1995 and 1996, respectively.


Musicland launches its e-commerce sites — samgoody.com, suncoast.com, oncue.com and mediaplay.com — as well as electronic gift cards. Musicland's online business is directed by an executive who joined the company from GeoCities.


In January, Best Buy Co., Inc. completes its acquisition of Musicland and its 1,300 stores for $685 million.


On Cue stores begin rebranding to the Sam Goody name.


With falling sales, Best Buy divests of Musicland and its now 1,100 total stores. Sun Capital Partners agrees to acquire all of Musicland's leases and liabilities. No cash is involved in the transaction.


Trans World Entertainment acquires The Musicland Group and its 400 remaining stores for $104 million. 65 stores are liquidated following the transaction, and 335 remain in operation. Most remaining Sam Goody stores will be converted to the FYE brand.


A small number of Sam Goody and Suncoast stores still remain in operation under their original names, though this number has continued to dwindle as FYE stores face ongoing pressure from the demise of mall-based retail.

Open stores can be found on the Store List page, indicated by a green dot by the name.