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Now trending at USF: Opting for vinyl over MP3s

As the popularity of  the hipster continues to grow, so does the popularity of vintage and retro culture. Music lovers are beginning to give up the convenience of the MP3 and are returning to an age of vinyl, where the needle dropping on a grooved piece of vinyl provides what many believe to be a flawless, superior sound.

Isabelle Cavazos, a sophomore majoring in English, has been collecting and listening to vinyl records for two years.

“It emits an enriched sound quality that digital music, while convenient, cannot emulate,” Cavazos said.

Clearly an MP3 player has the advantage of convenience by fitting in a pocket or purse.  Though records lack the mobility of modern devices, they do offer a more engaging, personal experience. One gets to actually hold music instead of clicking it on a computer.

While the music industry may be groaning over free file sharing, vinyl record sales are slowly coming back to life. According to an article published in the New York Times in June, 4.6 million domestic LPs were sold in 2012. This year, Nielsen SoundScan is estimating record sales to reach 5.5 million. 

Those who follow the trend are not only picking up the vintage sounds of the ’60s, but artists such as Lady Gaga, Radiohead and Adele are also jumping on the bandwagon and releasing new albums on vinyl as a way to reach fans on a new level.  

While convenience and cost may be an attractive reason for choosing to buy an MP3 track from an online source, buyers are beginning to realize that often times, buying vinyl can give you more for your money.

Books-A-Million recently created a bundle in which fans of The Black Keys could purchase a vinyl copy, a CD and a poster of their new album for only $30.

There are multiple vendors from which to purchase vinyl records in the USF area. Students who favor the retro trend can often be found at Mojo’s, Sound Exchange and Daddy Kool Records.

An often-overlooked merchant of the increasingly popular craze in the Tampa area is the Big Top Flea Market. 

Though some people may shrug off flea markets as low-grade yard sales, part of the appeal is the hunt for that one unattainable album. It is so rewarding to search through crates of records and find the trophy one was looking for, and run home and hear it in a way that an MP3 version never justified. 

Listening to vinyl is more than quality for Ariane Rosario, a somphomore majoring in engineering, it’s the experience.

“I like vinyl because it feels like the band is right there next to you,” Rosario said. “The sound is so much more authentic, with few slips and imprefections that make it so much better.”