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Why You Need Summer NAMM

Every spring, I hear from music retailers who can’t make Summer NAMM. I feel sorry for them, especially the combo and full-line sellers. I get it, people have commitments — store events, graduation ceremonies, vacations. But if you’re an independent retailer on the fence about heading to Nashville, Tenn., from June 18–20, I implore you to pull the trigger. Here’s why.

1. You’ll get more one-on-one face time with industry leaders. Try tracking down the president of a major manufacturer at a winter NAMM show, and you might get a handshake. Do the same at Summer NAMM, and you might score a new line.

2. There’s more time to learn. Yes, there are fewer exhibitors at Summer NAMM than the winter show, but I think that’s a good thing. Not only does it give you more time with key partners and new suppliers, it also gives you more time to hit NAMM University sessions. Folks, NAMM U isn’t lip service. Most of these sessions offer hard-hitting ideas on everything you could ever want to know, from managing inventory and people to improving product turns and margins to harnessing guerrilla marketing strategies and, let’s not forget, social media and other online promotional platforms.

3. It’s an innovation show. Think Summer NAMM’s not a gear show? What about the BreezSong JamHub, Morpheus DropTune pedal, Spider Capo, KickPort, O-Port, Tama Quick Set Cymbal Mate, Boss FRV-1 Fender Reverb pedal and GuitarGuard NeverKink cable clip? These were but a few innovations that made their debut at 2009’s convention. “Best In Show” panelists had no shortage of winners to choose from, particularly in small goods.

4. Music City USA is a vacation-worthy destination. Vacation and business make strange bedfellows, but Summer NAMM’s laid-back schedule leaves plenty of time to explore Nashville. And what a killer summertime hang it is. Clubs, museums and honky tonks — all in a city you can cover in a few days. (Make sure to set aside a few hours to check out the cozy Hillsboro-West End neighborhood.)

5. Indies are royalty. In my opinion, this is the single biggest reason for independent retailers to go to Summer NAMM. With fewer dealers in attendance, you’ll get the red-carpet treatment. This show is tailor-made for smaller dealers looking to make a big impression.

And here’s an unofficial sixth reason to go to Summer NAMM: It’s relatively cheap. No trade show is inexpensive once you factor in lodgings, airfare and time away from your business. But as far as bang-for-your-buck world-class trade show experiences go, Summer NAMM has no equal. We’ve packaged all the info you need to plan your convention in The Guide, appearing in the upcoming June issue of Music Inc.

Now go book that hotel.