Ten Takeaways from My First NAMM Show

   By Anais Wheeler   Categories: ConferencesGeneral

The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show happens each January in Anaheim, California, and this year attracted over 95 THOUSAND attendees. Focal marketing manager Sloane Stinson and I joined in the madness, spending three solid days on the floor and in the conference rooms–here are some things we learned:

1. NAMM rhymes with “lamb”…except when it rhymes with “bomb.”

2. Those bins of earplugs at the doors? Yeah, those are there for a reason. If you see a shining tower of cymbals, you have ventured too close to the percussion section of the floor.

3. Walking the floor is incredible for two days, but by day three this editor’s energy was flagging. (Who am I kidding? I was simply not processing anything new on the convention floor by Sunday.)

4. Start scheduling meetings early–people’s schedules are packed–and make sure you give yourself time to travel from one hall to another. Big is an understatement–there are three separate levels of show floor.

5. For most attendees, sessions are not a priority–this makes for small intimate crowds with great speakers. The H.O.T.  (Hands On Training Zone) Zone at NAMM 2012 was not to be missed.

6. I have a shocking dearth of tattoos, and my hairstyle is blah-city.

7. …Which brings me to #7: You should probably walk that section of the floor again, since you were checking out that dude’s neck tattoo and dread-hawk, not paying attention to all the businesses you’d like to visit.

8. There are well over 90,000 people on the floor, but you’ll still run into the same person half a dozen times.

9. Ukuleles are hot, hot, hot.

10. There are astonishing innovations going on in music and sound, and these are revolutionizing affordable, consumer-level tools…but for the vast majority of attendees, the ultimate goal remains the same: to make beautiful–or compelling, or shocking–music.

Other NAMM Notes

Since I’ve skipped the specific innovations that we saw at NAMM this year, I’ll direct you to a couple of great sources for these:

You’ve probably seen this, since the video has over a million views as of this writing, and since the Web has been abuzz with new iPad products from NAMM.

Here, here, and here, see some tech highlights from the show.

If the show itself interests you, check out the official numbers from Winter NAMM 2012.


Anais Wheeler is acquisitions editor for all things audio and music production at Focal Press. Follow her on Twitter at @FocalAnais or contact her at a.wheeler@elsevier.com.



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