March 09, 2021 I MI Editor I by Daniel Margolis

On Believing

There’s a certain allure to a trade show. When you commit to attend or exhibit at one, you’re likely propelled from where you live to an interesting place, and then immediately get to work on first just getting the lay of the land of an event space and hotel, then spending a series of days running around absorbing knowledge and information, talking to companies and creating content. The best of these events have a palpable buzz surrounding them, and at the end of any given day at one you experience a wonderful release as all attendees transition to networking receptions, fun events, open bars …

The NAMM Show has all of this in spades — it’s perhaps one of the best in the world at bottling up so much excitement in one place. We didn’t have it this year, of course, but we had something different, the virtual Believe in Music Week, which, it must be said, offered certain advantages.

As you’ll read throughout this issue, Believe in Music Week attendees on both the supply side and the retail side noticed some special things were happening here. First, there was so much information on hand — having gone virtual, NAMM truly stacked its schedule of informative sessions so there was something here for everyone. Meanwhile, people didn’t have to contend with conflicts, where two things they wanted to see were happening at the exact same time, so they had to make a choice between one or the other. For some, this made a huge difference.

Further, it became clear throughout the week that we had a different kind of crowd on our hands. Being able to attend virtually meant including people who can’t or don’t go to The NAMM Show normally. You heard a lot of, “This is my first NAMM.”

The NAMM Show has always been very international, but Believe in Music Week was a different animal in that respect, as it could greet people from anywhere in the world through their computers. When you read the full stats on attendance on page 20 of this issue, note that Believe in Music Week drew attendees from 187 countries and territories, which is an incredible number. The relationships and business opportunities that level of worldwide confluence engendered are surely going to have a big impact on MI.

Now, one of the oldest lines in the book about why a trade show is a worthwhile offering when seeking to drive attendance is, “You’ll learn things here that you can go back to your business and put directly into action.” Believe in Music Week changed the game on that one too. As you’ll read throughout this issue, suppliers and retailers were pleased to not even have to go back to their businesses to put newly learned-of best practices in place, because they were already there. Whatever it was, they just started doing it right then.

People in MI, commendably, check in with each other a lot. But with COVID-19, some in MI may have been working in isolation. Believe in Music Week had the effect of bringing everyone out, at the same time, to talk to each other. That was a good thing. For now, we can’t get together in person but we can still connect. That’s something to believe in. MI

Daniel Margolis has been a professional writer and editor for over two decades.

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