The 2011 Show NAMM
Numbers Up (Despite Ill-Timed Winter Onslaught in Eastern U.S…), More Events than in Recent Years, Positive Vibe in Orange County
Over 1,400 Visitors, NAMM reports greater than 90,000 in Attendance…
A minimal uptick in attendance (a reported three percent gain, compared to 2010) at this January’s gath- ering in Anaheim doesn’t do justice to what most experienced at the recent NAMM Show: an obvious increase in supplier-sponsored parties, product introductions, and concerts; increased (according to many) dealer presence, compared to the dreaded “Yellow badge crowd”; and – as reported by essentially all we spoke with – a definite upswing in overall mood. While the tone of the 2010 Anaheim convention could be fairly summarized as “cautiously optimistic,” this year’s meeting might be more fairly characterized as downright optimistic, without proviso.
One sign of things changing for the better that was more significant, perhaps, than the increased number of visitors to the show (90,114 – up from 87,569 last January) was the 1,417 exhibitors at this year’s gathering, including 247 first-time exhibiting companies.
“There was a palpable sense in the NAMM Show aisles that our industry is poised for recovery,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM. “And we hope that a robust show will serve as a springboard for our members’ success in the year ahead.”
Many, including Casio’s Stephen Schmidt, shared the upbeat sentiment: “We were very pleased, overall, with this year’s Winter NAMM. As has been re- ported by NAMM, ‘attendance’ was up, but the actual dealer traffic, as opposed to the ‘visitor’ traffic, was noticeably improved. I think that most manufac- turers will agree that the vibe was mostly upbeat with the dealers, with some saying the holidays were good or OK, not bad. I think that this was a positive sign for the upcoming selling season. Of course we must still be cautious due to the uncertain economy, but we remain optimistic.”
It’s also worth noting that all this posi- tivity and the increase (albeit small) in attendance numbers happened amidst one of the first in a long line of crippling winter storms affecting the Eastern U.S. “Weather issues all along the East Coast may have played a part [in overall attendance], but I don’t think that’s the entire story,” offered Tech 21’s Dale Krevins. “Reps have reported a declining dealer attendance, in general, over the past few years. I’m sure the state of the economy and expense to travel would be the main reason for not coming to NAMM. Why else would you not go?”
Like Lamond, many walked away from the convention with high expectations for the coming year. “The 2011 NAMM Show was overwhelmingly positive, based on our overall experience, as well as the feedback we received from our dealers, artists and business partners,” said Jason Padgitt, senior vice president, marketing and communications for Fender Musical Instruments Corp. “We are encouraged by the start of 2011 and are well positioned for a strong year at FMIC.”
“I believe the market will mirror the growth rate of the economy’s, but I also believe that musicians are a bit more positive than traditional business and that could reflect in a growth rate slightly better than other industry rates. Music is needed for the soul in good times as well as bad times and I think that is a pretty solid assumption moving forward,” noted LM Products’ Troy Parker.
Julie Nickel of MesseFrankfurt had a similarly encouraging outlook, saying: “The aisles seemed more crowded than I remember them being last year. People were genuinely upbeat and you could sense more optimism than in 2010… I really feel like we’ve rounded a corner… from my perspective, the musical instru- ments industry is rebounding.”
Check out our photo gallery from NAMM 2011!