Where the Music Begins

There's only one thing left to do before The 2017 NAMM Show: wait. The majority of the exhibit floor for the trade show has been filled. Hotel rooms and flights to Anaheim, California, have been booked. Last-minute exhibitors scramble to finalize their displays and keynote speakers rehearse for the convention held Jan. 19– 22.

"It looks like it will be another fantastic gathering of the global musical tribes," said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of the organization. As in previous years, attendees can expect the Anaheim Convention Center to be bursting with innovative ideas and sessions on how to implement them into this ever-evolving industry.

And "tremendous amounts of change" make attending The NAMM Show even more important than previous years, according to Lamond.

"There is no better place to get a glimpse into the future," he said, "a necessary ingredient in making successful moves in the year ahead."

As the focus on specific education for these vital industry segments continue to grow, attendees should expect extra emphasis to be placed on educational sessions.

On Wednesday before the show starts, NAMM will hosts its bi-annual Retail Boot Camp; an opportunity for retailers to jump-start their sales, marketing and financial management skills. For the first time at Winter NAMM, the intensive training session will feature two tracks — the "Sales, Marketing and Websites" program and the "Financial Management" program.

For retailers seeking big-picture strategies, the NAMM U Breakfast Sessions will feature prominent creative thinkers such as marketing expert Larry Bailin and social media guru Guy Kawasaki, who will share marketing concepts designed to future-proof businesses.

Throughout the show, the NAMM Idea Center provides more than 45 free presentations and panels that can help NAMM members discover current, creative ideas that are proving successful in music retail.

Plus, more than 70 TEC Tracks sessions curated for the sound, studio and stage professional will be held at the convention center.

The NAMM Retail Tech Stage offers sessions on retail software and technology platforms from NAMM Service Providers that "give members an opportunity to discover the latest technology tools and updates," according to Lamond. These sessions are scheduled to be held at the NAMM Member Center on Thursday and Friday.

"A few themes I think will be of critical importance are website upgrades, digital strategy, lesson program improvements, SEO techniques and next-level marketing," Lamond said. These issues facing the industry will be addressed at various NAMM U sessions.

Attendees can also look forward to a new feature at this year's show: Dante Training and Certification. Audinate (creators of Dante) will present a free two-day training session in which pro-audio professionals can experiment with and learn about this multi-channel media networking protocol.

"The NAMM Show is the crossroads of the music and sound community," Lamond said. "Given that every aspect of music making — from music education to the gear used to make hit recordings — is represented at NAMM; this year's theme of 'The Music Begins Here' seems particularly appropriate."

Though taking the same slogan as the 2016 show — and going on roughly 100 years — NAMM begins planning each show as if it were the first one.

"Honestly, each [show] has been like a whole new universe," Lamond said. "Our exhibiting members fill in the blanks and create a whole new world of innovative and exciting products; to me, that makes each [one] a whole new experience." MI