March 03, 2020 I MI Publisher I by Frank Alkyer

The Wide Net

For those of us who count the number of NAMM Shows we’ve attended like an arborist counts rings of a tree, The NAMM Show 2020 proved the old axiom that the only constant is change, rapid change in the case of this industry.

NAMM set a course several years ago to cast the net much wider for the show to bring everyone involved in music, sound, recording and performance together under the big top of the Anaheim Convention Center.

It has paid off. The show is now larger, more diverse and more representative of everyone involved in the ecosystem of music-making and sound.

From the standpoint of growth, history proves it. This year’s NAMM Show brought 115,888 attendees through the turnstiles for the four-day event. In 2010, that number was 87,569 attendees; in 2000, 62,596.

Those attendees were coming for one simple reason—there’s more to see. The show topped 2,000 exhibitors this year compared to 1,373 in 2010 and 1,249 in 2000. And, 20 years ago, NAMM proudly reported a record 62 educational sessions. This year, there were more than 350.

Where did these people come from? All over the world in larger numbers than ever before.

NAMM reported that international members have increased by 20% over the past two years. China alone had some 220 exhibitors, according to, China’s online national news service, and that doesn’t include companies that may be headquartered elsewhere, but manufacture in China.

“It is certain and inevitable that the growing industry will look overseas for growth,” said Yingyao Wang, project manager of CIEC Exhibition, an organizer of the Chinese exhibition at the NAMM Show.

No doubt, each NAMM Show has a lot to take in, and that’s good news for musical product retailers who keep their eyes and ears open.

Take, for example, Breakfast of Champions, the opening NAMM U educational session hosted by Joe Lamond, NAMM president and CEO. Lamond invited Whitney Brown Grisaffi, president of Ted Brown Music in Tacoma, Washington, out to discuss how her full-line retail company got involved in the sound installation business.

“Ted Brown Music was at a crossroads,” she said. “And we had an employee who was at a crossroads. He needed an opportunity to grow, and we were looking for an opportunity to grow.”

The company was already doing some small installations but saw an opportunity to put that employee in charge of a completely new business unit and hired an installation industry professional who could provide the expertise and contacts needed to help them dive into the installation market.

The division started with two employees five years ago. Now they are up to eight and growing. It’s a business that fits well in the company’s overall model of high service to drive sales.

“The more we can do in service to our customers, the more success we’re going to have,” Brown Grisaffi said.

Changes, crossroads, we all face them on a daily basis. We all need growth opportunities. We hope you might find a few new directions for your company in this special NAMM Show recap issue. Our coverage begins on page 16. MI

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