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For the record: Vinyl sales up in digital age

Mister Jason never uses digitized music when he DJs.

Mister Jason never uses digitized music when he DJs.

“I only spin vinyl,” said the Boston-based producer. “In terms of music I make — it’s vinyl only, as well. It’s my preferred medium.”

Mister Jason is one of many music enthusiasts who still purchases the plastic discs, despite the evolution of digital music.

“It’s that feeling of dropping a needle on a record. The warm sound, the crackle, it’s better than everything else,” he said.

Although cassettes and 8-tracks are virtually extinct and CDs are declining, vinyl has survived the digital age.

“There is a real value to vinyl culturally and socially that goes beyond the music,” said Trevor Schoonmaker, curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

He said vinyl offers something more than just a warm sound and a familiar crackle — it also has a physical sense of permanence.

“There is so much more potential for creativity and the exploration of ideas including cover art, colored vinyl, packaging,” he said.

Each element plays a role in how vinyl has survived and continues to trend in the music industry, he said.

At Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, Schoonmaker organized “The Record,” a display examining the culture behind vinyl through an artistic lens.

The exhibit explores artwork highlighting vinyl’s recent resurgence.

That resurfacing is what allowed Somerville resident David Plunkett to follow his dream of opening a record store last week.

“They will never be the hugest thing, but true music-lovers will always turn to vinyl,” said Plunkett.

Still in store

For the last four years, Record Store Day has brought people away from computers and into record stores to purchase tunes. This year was the most successful Record Store Day in the event’s four-year history, according to Nielsen results. Album sales at independent record stores increased more than 39 percent that week.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.

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