The 2009 NAMM Show
..over 1,500 Exhibitors, attendance nearly 86,000
“When asked recently by the LA Times about the appeal of the NAMM Show, I simply told them that it’s the family reunion of the global music products industry; not just a trade show but a pilgrimage,” says Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM. “When I was explaining that to the reporter, I couldn’t help but think of Don Johnson who made the trek to NAMM last year in spite of his illness and was able to see so many of the people who cared deeply for him. Sure it will always be about business, but here it means so much more than that.”
Joe’s comments pretty accurately summarize the tone of this winter’s convention, both for exhibitors and attendees as well as, with respect to his remarks about Don Johnson, those of us on the MMR staff.
While unpredictable (and generally negative) economic trends continue to be hot-button topics for vendors and suppliers, most folks seemed to be pleasantly surprised with the action in Anaheim this January. “Much better than I expected!” was the oft-repeated assessment of the 2009 NAMM Show offered by those we touched base with. “I’ve seen a lot of positive attitudes here at the show,” noted Marciello Grassi of EGM Distribution. “Some businesses will fail, but there is a lot of optimism. We have already secured our goals and hopefully we’ll pick up something new, too.” Orange USA’s Alex Auxier echoed that sentiment, saying, “It’s been excellent, probably the best NAMM we’ve ever had. It seems like the people here are here to do business and that’s great for us.”
“We’re very pleased with the steady traffic that has been visiting our display at the NAMM Show within minutes of the show opening on Thursday,” said Dennis Houlihan of Roland Corporation U.S. “Dealers are eager to see new products and new technologies. Everybody is anxious about 2009 and yet there’s an underlying confidence in the value of music and the need for music products in our country right now more so than ever before. Roland Corporation is very pleased with the attitude of retailers and we’re responding to their needs with products and programs to help everybody navigate through this time of uncertainty and economic challenge. Roland is confident, optimistic and moving forward, full-speed ahead.”
“NAMM is always one of the best shows for us to go to,” said Grant Henry of Ludwig Musser. “This year especially—we’re celebrating our 100-year anniversary, which has been great. It has been one of the most excitable times that we’ve had at the booth. The number of dealers, the number of artists, and the drummers that have come through have recognized what kind of things we’re doing. So this year’s NAMM Show, as always, has proven to be a success and we’re really excited about what this year has to bring.”
“It’s been a great show,” said Steve McCreary of Collings Guitars. “We didn’t quite know what to expect coming in, but Thursday and Friday, we were swamped, Saturday was busy, Sunday was a little bit slower but that’s to be expected, and we had a lot of international interest, which was great. We’re looking forward to Nashville.”
Steve Buiaroski of Australia’s Jade Sound Systems said, “We project that business will be slow for six months, but we’ll get through that. There might be a hold back on buying, but the economic situation not as disastrous as the media is making it seem.”
By the Numbers
The actual numbers support the notion that this winter’s get-together reflected a stronger industry than other economic indicators might suggest: NAMM is reporting a final tally of 85,799 registrants to the show – down only three percent from last year’s total of 88,128 – while 1,505 exhibitors set up shop at the Convention Center (down from 2008′s record-breaking total of 1,560). “The 2009 NAMM Show was perhaps one of the most important industry gatherings in memory,” reflects Joe Lamond. “Our Members once again demonstrated their determination and persistence as the best and brightest from around the world gathered to experience four days of new products, NAMM University courses, networking and great live music.”
Indeed, in addition to the primary business of buying, selling, and networking, The 2009 NAMM Show featured a non-stop schedule of performances and appearances by the likes of Gene Simmons, Kerry King, Brian Wilson, Alicia Keys, and Steve Vai. Attendees were also once again able to benefit from a number of informative courses, professional development sessions, and lectures offered by NAMM University and the daily NAMM University Breakfast Sessions…
NAMM – It’s What’s for Breakfast
Set to the tune of the Beatles’ “Come Together,” the NAMM University Breakfast Sessions featured a wide array of speakers, panels, and performers, in addition to standard culinary breakfast fare.
The first session, on Thursday, was titled “Breakfast of Champions.” After a few brief remarks from Carolyn Grant, executive director of the Museum of Making Music, Bob Brozman, musician and ethnomusicologist, entertained the crowd by performing music from around the world on a variety of guitars and guitar-like instruments, including an exotic 22-string “guitar” from India.
Following the music, NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond addressed the audience, beginning on the somber note of the current economic uncertainty. “This is one of the most important industry gatherings of our lifetime,” stated Lamond. “We’ve come here with many questions, but I can’t think of a better place to try to answer them than here at the NAMM Show.” He then had a brief discussion with legal expert Paul Cuomo on the topic of the ongoing FTC MAP investigation, followed by a chat with Mitsuru “Mick” Umemura, president of Yamaha, who stressed that “the music business is the music education business” and that the industry must continue to develop and grow demand for music and MI products by supporting music education and creating new initiatives. “Let’s work together to create music makers,” stated Umemura.
That interview was followed by a roundtable with three successful retailers, all of whom were thriving even in this down market. For the final act of the morning session, Joe Lamond brought out Gene Simmons, marketing guru and bass player of the legendary band KISS, who took little time to confront the crowd with borderline-offensive bombast. “Listen. It’s simple: find out what people want and give it to them, genius,” sneered Simmons. “Get your soft, white asses out of your stores! People are dying to give you money, but you’ve got to go find them.”
Alan Friedman, Friedman, Kannenberg & Co. and Danny Rocks, The Company Rocks, moderated the Saturday morning’s NAMM University Breakfast Session, “25 Ideas to Improve Your Business—NOW!” The session offered tips in the four areas: sales promotion, financial improvement, technology and business operations and was attended by a record-breaking 1,047 NAMM attendees. The video can be seen at www.namm.org and the complete listing of the 25 dealer-tested tips can be accessed athttp://www.fkco.com/tax-forms-and-support/seminar-handouts.
On to Nashville
After a successful return to “Music City U.S.A.” last June, Summer NAMM will once again be held in Nashville this July. 2008′s midyear counterpart to the Anaheim show boasted a 36 percent overall increase in registration compared to 2007, making a compelling case that Nashville is the true “home” for NAMM’s Summer Session. Summer NAMM will take place July 17-19. For more detailed information, visit: www. namm.org/summer.