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Vinyl records make big comeback in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO - The little imperfections vinyl records are known for appear to be making a big comeback in the San Diego music scene.

“What some people would call imperfections are to me cool little attributes to listening to a record,” said Eric Howarth, a local record collector. “A crackle here a pop there.”

Howarth has thousands of records, each in their individual protective sleeves, inside his southeast San Diego home.

“Vinyl never went away for me and other people but its super cool to see people that didn’t have that experience are into it now,” said Howarth.

Hundreds of record fanatics show up every month to the Casbah in Little Italy for its record swap. The event features dozens of local shops and collectors on display selling records for between $3 and more than $100 for rare editions.

The underground scene isn’t the only place these old records are popping up. A few unusual spots are jumping on the record craze bandwagon.

“It’s super cool that I could get my favorite 90s rock album at a grocery store there’s nothing cooler than that,” said Jennifer Lahotski, a representative for Whole Foods Market in La Jolla.

The grocery store, known more for their produce than music offers shoppers a weekly curated selection of records ranging from artists like Jay-Z to Bob Dylan to Gunz n’ Roses.

“They expressed interest in selling vinyl records and a great music selection so here we are,” said Lahotski.

Local Mission Hills record shop, M-Theory Music, report sales have increased nearly 10% over 2015. New releases on vinyl are also up nearly 40%, with Taylor Swift topping the charts and causing a backlog at vinyl pressing shops.

“I’ve had record labels and I’ve pressed records myself and it used to be a month turnaround and now its several months,” said Howarth.

A number of record stores FOX 5 reached out to report sales have increased, slightly, year-over-year.

Despite longstanding North Park vinyl shop “Off the Record” closing its doors earlier this year, owners say the decision was not due to declining sales.