2013 Winter NAMM Show Report
“The elements all mixed together extremely well this year,” reflects NAMM president and CEO, Joe Lamond, on the 2013 winter gathering in Anaheim. “We had the right exhibitors with the right gear, the right buyers, the right training offered at NAMM U, as well as all the entertainment that was on hand – the ‘fun.’ We had a really special Show.”
That “mix” didn’t just happen randomly, though. While official numbers are down (barely) from last year (a two percent decrease from 95,709 total registrants in 2012 to 93,908 this year), that’s largely – possibly completely – by design. In response to member feedback, this year NAMM focused on increasing buyer attendance, while reducing visitors (the dreaded “yellow badges”).
“We made a concerted effort to reduce the allocation of yellow badges,” Lamond explains. “So we upped the professional attendance and worked on creating a really business-friendly environment. We’re really starting to dial in the right mix of attendees. We had all the right people there. We really worked carefully on getting the right buyers, new exhibitors, and bringing in the related fields: technology, live sound, touring – all the related tribes.”
Certain changes to nuts-and-bolts logistics related to the presentation of the Show were also made – moving the stage outside, streamlining the registration process, moving entrance security from the Convention Hall floor to the main glass wall/doors – which also made for a more enjoyable and productive overall experience.
“The NAMM Show is this big stew,” Joe says. “You change the recipe carefully and with thoughtfulness, because it’s not broken, but we always want to improve it.”
“There was lots of great entertainment,” remarks Yamaha’s Rick Young. “I had a chance to listen to a few of the performers in the main stage outside and I think it adds a nice touch to the Show. The NAMM University sessions along with the morning breakfast sessions and the sessions for educators are all important for the groups they represent. And our dealers were making all of their appointments and interested in new offerings, enough so to purchase on the spot. It was a good show for orders!”
Rick Drumm of D’Addario also has a positive view of the get-together: “NAMM 2013 seemed a bit more optimistic than last year. Our booth was busy the entire show and we wrote more business than [during] previous Shows.”
“[The Show was] better than expected,” says Kurzweil’s Gary Girouard. “We had brisk traffic throughout the four days, and solid visits from dealers. I also notice more and more visitors each year – this combination made for a very busy and exciting show!
Some who had already picked up on the “optimism” MMR noted in our Show Report from last March, like Hoshino’s Ken Youmans, were perhaps less enthusiastically “rah rah!” than others, but still report a generally positive experience at this year’s Winter NAMM. “2012 had an energy to it that took us by surprise,” Ken recalls. “In terms of booth attendance and energy, 2013 was about what we would have predicted. In the end it felt a bit like going home after a tie ball game.”
One thing that was markedly evident this year – and commented upon by many – was the increased “general public” awareness of the NAMM Show. Gear-heads and folks somehow connected (or aspiring to be connected) to the industry have always been hip to what goes on each January in Anaheim, to be sure, but something about this year… Whether one was checking Rolling Stone, local media outlets, national and international “entertainment” programs, or seemingly any form of mainstream media, there was the NAMM Show.
“I think the Show has changed,” agrees Lamond. “I think it’s become maybe more than any of us ever thought; it really is a global event. It’s trend setting; it’s creating direction for the coming year. The mix has gotten tighter, it’s become a truly global show.”