Photo courtesy of NAMM

NAMM: Bigger, Better and Busier

This year's NAMM Show welcomed 115,085 registered industry professionals — a 7.6 percent increase on figures in 2017. Held Jan. 25-28, NAMM reported nearly 2,000 exhibitors representing some 7,000 brands on The NAMM Show Campus.

Attendees comprised of traditional NAMM members, including domestic and international retail and distribution buyers and employees, exhibitors, event tech and pro-audio professionals and buyers, media, artists, invited guests, NAMM Foundation GenNext (college music students), Music Education Day participants (school music teachers and administrators) and Nonprofit Institute participants (NAMM grantees and affiliates).

"NAMM members, alongside our partners and guests, deserve all the credit for creating such an incredibly powerful industry gathering," said Joe Lamond, NAMM president and CEO. "The 'crossroads' of industry pros, coupled with the passion and dedication to drive business forward in new and innovative ways, ensures an exciting year ahead for all aspects of music making and production."

NAMM also reported growth in international registrants with 19,356 at the show — representing 100 countries around the world. That was an 8 percent increase compared to 2017.

"As a major supplier and vendor of products, there's no place else we'd rather be," said Joe Castronovo, president of Korg USA. "We see all of our international buyers come over; we see a lot of customers coming here from all over the world. There are so many ways to connect with our customers and our friends in the industry, it's a really great gathering place."

"You have four days to meet the world," said Andy Zildjian, president and CEO of Sabian. "Anybody who has a stake in the industry is here, whether it's distributors, manufacturers, retailers, players — everyone."

"NAMM's the global gathering place," said Larry Morton, Hal Leonard's president. "The diversity of the companies that are here — from technology to traditional musical instruments to publishing to artists to management to labels — you've got it; it's the one place you can go and touch all facets of the music business."

As attendance numbers grew, so did The NAMM Show Campus. With the expansion of the show into the new 200,000-square-foot Anaheim Convention Center North building, NAMM reported an increased pro-audio and event technology participation, which contributed to a 9 percent overall growth of exhibitors at the show.

Guy Low, content and creative manager for Electro-Voice, said being in the North Hall was a big change for the pro-audio speaker company, and it allowed Electro-Voice to communicate with customers in an immersive audio-visual format.

"NAMM goers [could] come and hear the whole range of products we make," Low said. "We make speaker products for every budget and every application, and we can really showcase that in this new space. It adds value to Electro-Voice to be able to come and turn up our products and create a meaningful show experience for our customers. It's a big deal for us."

Lin Buck, director of sales at Adamson Systems Engineering, who has been attending The NAMM Show for the past 15 years, was also excited by the change.

"For years, I've wanted something like this to happen," Buck said. "The expansion to pro audio and technology is so important because it's a different market but here at the show, it brings us together."

The show floor, including the ACC North Hall, was organized by musical communities into what NAMM referred to as "tribes." Given the various changes throughout the show, Music Inc. went out and asked exhibitors on their new locations, sound improvements and tribe organization flow.

"It feels like a different NAMM Show because everybody is in a different place," said Jim Uding, Dixon brand manager. "Our location has improved. We're now here on Main Street. The beautiful thing about Dixon is that we're across from our category, our people, so it gives us more exposure. I think more people are discovering Dixon because we're in our neighborhood. Traffic's been great."

"The fact that I can stand here and talk to you is fabulous," said Miles Jackson, CEO of Cole Clark Guitar. "[It seems] you've got quieter people with quieter people, noisier people with noisier people, and I get it some products are very noisy — that's just what it is — but when you're trying to sell an acoustic guitar, it's not crazy [loud]."

However, a few exhibitors that Music Inc. spoke to had mixed feelings on the changes.

"Our placement is great; it's loud," said Scott Hunter, project manager at ATV. "But it's been really good. Honestly, I have not been able to get out from the booth to experience the other areas. I've heard pros and cons."

"We had a couple people who couldn't find the booth," said Ivy Yu, general manager of Tycoon. "Other than that, we've had great reception."

For full coverage of The 2018 NAMM Show, check out Music Inc.'s April 2018 issue, out March 13. MI

— By Kasia Fejklowicz & Alex Harrell