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Fans of vinyl out in force on 'Record Store Day'

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In this digital age, when more people than ever listen to music on a digital device like an iPod or other mp3 player, fans of good old vinyl records are still out there. And Saturday was a day set aside just for them -- International Record Store Day.

Thousands of record stores around the world marked the day with special vinyl and CD releases, live music performances and other promotions to serve existing customers and attract new ones.

International Record Store Day started in 2007 to "celebrate the unique culture of a record store and the special role these independently owned stores play in their communities," according to the organization's website. This year, every continent in the world except Antarctica had at least one store taking part in the celebration.

The Electric Fetus store in Minneapolis was one of the more than two dozen record shops in Minnesota that took part, WCCO reports.

Store manager Bob Fuchs said the day was originally created to celebrate and preserve the LP, but “it’s kind of turned into this whole music community celebration, pretty much a festival for the music community,” Fuchs told WCCO.

Record shops in the Duluth-Superior area also had special events, the Northland News Center reports.

"We had 20 people lined up outside waiting to get in when we opened, braving the elements; it's a big day," said Tom Unterberger, co-owner of Vinyl Cave in Superior. This is the store's most profitable day of the year, he told the Northland News Center.

"It's like a single day of Christmas."

Against what seems like very long odds, vinyl records are making a comeback -- even among younger music fans, the New York Times reported recently. Every major label and many smaller ones are releasing vinyl, and most major new releases have a vinyl version as well as a CD and a digital version.

For example, the Times reported, when electronica duo Daft Punk released “Random Access Memories” last May, 6 percent of its first-week sales — 19,000 out of 339,000 — were on vinyl, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which measures music sales.

In Minnesota, independent record stores are thriving, for the most part. Two new record shops recently opened in St. Paul, but the Electric Fetus store in St. Cloud is closing next month. Vita.mn has compiled its list of the 11 best record stores in the Twin Cities.

Now, let's see when they come up with an "International 8-track Tape Day."

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