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VINYL RECORDS WIN NEW FANS

A YOUNGER GENERATION DISCOVERS THE APPEAL OF LPS.

Vinyl, once a relic of our parents' generation, then a collector's novelty, is growing out of its niche.

Listening to music pressed onto LP vinyl discs has become increasingly popular within the past five years, especially with teenagers. Born after the era of CDs and therefore fostered into the digital world, we had become accustomed to the garbled noises of $10 headphones.

There's something about the crisp, clean sound of an LP that a CD just can't top. Any novice to the trend can hear the difference right away - vinyl sounds different and fresh on any record player.

"Lots of people are coming in and buying the LPs instead of CDs for the same album," said Marisa Granata, an employee at the Barnes & Noble store on U.S. 19 near Sunset Point Road in Clearwater. Barnes and Noble recently started selling vinyl albums in its stores after first selling them online only. "You get people from any age, but it is definitely mostly teenagers and young adults."

Music industry statistics confirm the increasing stream of customers, reporting at least 20 percent growth in the past five years. Though that may not sound like a lot, it is revenue that most artists wouldn't have received otherwise in a world where the popular way to access music is to download songs online.

"I don't only like vinyl because it sounds better," said Leigh Crupi, a record enthusiast and St. Petersburg Collegiate High junior. "I was given a record player when I was a lot younger, and since then a lot of people have donated their old record collections to me. I love appreciating things people have let go of."

As a bonus for those who like their music just a click away, most LPs come with a free digital download code inside.

"Even if it is outdated, unpractical technology, records are great," said Crupi. And the cool record sleeves offer a much bigger canvas than a CD cover or a thumbnail online.

"Music is a big part of our lives, and we have grown to appreciate just how much fun collecting records and supporting our favorite artists can be," Granata said.

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