Photo courtesy of NAMM

NAMM Heats Up Anaheim

As cold air masses descended from the Arctic into the Midwest and the Northeast, the MI industry enjoyed a musical heat wave during The 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. Held Jan 24-27, NAMM welcomed more than 2,000 exhibitors representing 7,000 brands. NAMM also reported especially strong growth in international participants with a year-over-year increase of 14 percent.

Attendees were a mix of retail and distribution buyers and employees, exhibitors, event tech and pro-audio buyers and professionals, media, artists, invited guests, NAMM's GenNext (college music students), Music Education Day participants (school music administrators and buyers) and Nonprofit Institute (NAMM grantees and affiliates) participants.

"We live in accelerated times in technological developments and global business and market conditions, and that can create unpredictability in any industry," said Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO, in a Jan. 28 statement. "However, if you [took] a look around The NAMM Show, one could find many reasons to feel quite comfortable about the importance of music around the world and future of the music products industry."


As always, The NAMM Show campus was filled with hot gear ready to be demoed.

Yamaha debuted more than 50 products at the show, including the Sonogenic Keytar, a product targeted at aspiring musicians; the CP73 and CP88 stage pianos targeted at professional and gigging musicians; the expansion of the company's TransAcoustic Guitar line with a nylon string and parlor size; and the new student violin kit YVN-003.

Fender displayed its American Acoustasonic Telecaster, the American Performer Series, as well as the Jimmy Page Fender Custom Shop 'dragon' and mirror Telecaster models.

"NAMM was the perfect place to unveil our American Acoustasonic Telecaster," said Fender CEO Andy Mooney about the hybrid acoustic-electric guitar. "The response to this breakthrough product has been incredibly positive across artists, retailers and players."

D'Addario highlighted its new mallet offering and additions to the ActiveGrip and FireGrain drumsticks. The Woodwinds accessory portion of D'Addario's booth featured the new look of the D'Addario Signature Series of reeds as well as the D'Addario Reserve Evolution B-flat clarinet reeds and mouthpieces.

"Having such a diverse offering of accessories, it is a challenge to give each of them the attention they deserve," said John D'Addario III, president of D'Addario. "Nevertheless, the show provided us an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate each of them first hand."

On another part of the action-packed show floor, Cannonball Musical Instruments showcased an Artist series alto and baritone saxophone.

"The new products were received well," said Sheryl Laukat, co-founder of Cannonball. "Our dealers know that we are always looking to develop products for their markets."


Both retailers and suppliers in attendance noticed a difference in security measures and clearance for the show floor, both of which provided a better show experience.

"One improvement I noticed was the process of entering the Anaheim Convention Center — checking IDs outside the venue really seemed to streamline the process," said Chuck Surack, Sweetwater president and owner. "Initial entry took a bit longer, but once you were in, there were no holdups when you entered/exited the halls or took the escalators to and from the rooms on the upper floors."

Rand and Cindy Cook of The Candyman Strings & Things commended NAMM for the changes to the security process, including making the entire campus easier to venture through with checkpoints away from entrances.

"We really appreciated the efficiency changes to the security process," the Cooks said. "The NAMM organizers have quite a challenge keeping over 115,000 people as safe as possible in such a large venue while ensuring they get in to the show as quickly as possible. NAMM nailed it this year by having security lines positioned away from the entrances. This allowed attendees to move in and out of the building without having to go through security each time."

The pros from the new procedures extended into the show room, where NAMM's attention on visitor badges meant vendors would get more visits from the right people.

"Alfred Music's booth traffic was consistently busy throughout the show, and we opened a lot of new accounts, which is a good sign for the health of the industry," said Ron Manus, chief business development officer at Alfred Music. "NAMM's efforts to control the visitor badges definitely made a positive impact as we saw increased numbers of qualified attendees in our booth."

Tom Sumner, president of Yamaha Corp. of America, agreed with Manus, saying, "The overall quality of the attendees seemed much improved — lots of buyers, artists and retail employees and less visitors."


For many exhibitors, including Yamaha's Sumner, the show was a success.

"I personally thought The 2019 NAMM Show was the best ever — I think I'm at 30 shows, so that says a lot," Sumner said. "We launched our new brand promise 'Make Waves,' added a booth for our Yamaha and Nexo commercial audio in the North Hall of the convention center and hosted some great events for all NAMM attendees."

Alfred Music's Manus said, "We had a great time reconnecting with our 'NAMMily.' The energy on the show floor was absolutely electric — so good and positive. We always have great quality of conversations with our retailers, our partners and our authors, and this year was no different. NAMM is the meeting point for all of the key influencers in the music industry."

Fellow supplier, Cannonball's Laukat, said, "The music industry encompasses such a large variety of marvelous people. We're so grateful that our dealers/distributors were gathered together in one spot and that we could spend a few short minutes with each of them attending. We were also delighted to connect with our Cannonball artists. They are great people as well as great musicians."

Retailers echoed similar sentiments, even describing it as a must-go event.

"This year's show was outstanding thanks to the NAMM team's hard work at continuously improving the show's nuts and bolts to make the experience better and better," said Randy Shayler, owner and CEO of Zeswitz Music.

"This was my fifth year at The NAMM Show in Anaheim and each year, it's better than the last," said Jim Tuerk, Reverb's director of business development. "For Reverb, our NAMM booth and the people who pass through it are really a physical manifestation of the diverse online platform and community we're fostering throughout the year. It's an incredible opportunity to get facetime with the musicians, retailers, manufacturers and more who make Reverb what it is. We check in with our users and partners regularly throughout the year, but the opportunity to hear success stories and talk strategy in-person is invaluable."

Upcoming NAMM shows include Summer NAMM in Nashville, Tennessee, July 18-20; NAMM Musikmesse Russia in Moscow, Sept. 12-14; Prolight + Sound Russia, Sept. 12-14; and The 2020 NAMM Show, Jan. 16-19.

For full coverage of The 2019 NAMM Show, check out Music Inc.'s April 2019 issue, out March 12. MI