By Kat Drucker, Strategic Consultant for Canadian Music Week and Digital Media Summit @kitkat5656.
NAMM wrapped up yesterday after four days of very well organized chaos in Anaheim California. Parking was sold-out, alcohol was available nearly all day in true Rock ‘n Roll fashion, and the trade show was packed – often with line-ups just to try gear or ask a question. With award shows, educational sessions, concerts, performances, and autograph signings galore, the event proved that is much more than the self branded as “world’s premiere music products trade show”. Showcasing new and established brands NAMM captured the traditional feel of the event while bringing in new technologies at-par with industry trends.
Day 3 at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 26, 2013 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images for NAMM)
Star Power and Growth: The star power at NAMM seen at concerts and special events is indisputable – including this year’s event by Yamaha’s celebrating their 125th anniversary, with performances from Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, Earth, Wind & Fire and many others. However, the lack of attention both the event and the attendees pay to the roster of internationally recognizable talent walking the floor may be the reason NAMM has built an industry reputation worthy of growth despite not being open to public. Exhibitors, attendees, and even locals commented on the overall growth of the event.
"There are a lot more booths this year at the NAMM Show, and it seems there is a more consistent footprint to the booths. Makes it very easy to see the new things and find our favorites." - Bryan Anderson, buyer, Scrape Records
Day 1 at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 24, 2013 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images for NAMM)
Trade Show: Without a doubt, the show’s core focus remains on music gear with the biggest, newest, and most unique brands spread-out throughout the convention center and arena. Thursday morning was by-far the best to attend for anyone looking for dedicated time with a specific vendor; although business deals were being made both on and off the exhibition areas throughout the event. The eclectic crowd comprised of buyers, established musicians, Grammy winning producers, educators, musicians, and celebrities leveled on one playing field in an attempt to catch a demo, performance, or try every amp, drumhead, pedal, or bass they could get close to.
Recording artists Stevie Wonder (C) and Bernadette Bascom (L) attend the 2013 NAMM Show - Day 3 at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 26, 2013 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images for NAMM)
While the exhibition floor was generally organized by interest area, anyone not taking the opportunity to walk NAMM 2013 from start to finish themselves a disservice. With multiple companies exhibiting diverse product offerings or taking over significant areas of the upper levels of the convention center, portable speakers appeared in areas dedicated to touring or electronic music, a digital grand piano caused a stir in Roland’s own area amongst synthesizers and percussion, art and art-like custom guitar displays emerged in on the lower and upper levels of the convention center, and educational and tech driven companies remained somewhat uncategorized, spread throughout.
"People walk past our booth and they get an idea of what we are doing, and they say, 'That is so cool!' They are asking us to do [an app] for their companies. Our goal is to spread the word about musical education and our apps, and that they are free. We want to spread the word, and NAMM helps us meet people of similar vision" Misti Butler, VP of Sales & Marketing, Atlas Apps
Best in Apps: IK Multimedia with iRig, and AGILE Partners stood out with their self-learn and self-practice artist-driven apps at the show.
NAMM University: Like the attendees, the educational sessions were extremely diverse. During the daily breakfast sessions, NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond kicked off the convention by honoring Randy Jackson with NAMM’s "Music for Life" award. Brian Solis and Barry Moltz were Friday and Saturday’s keynotes, with Sunday celebrating NAMM’s Best in Show (full winners)
Music producer and NAMM Music for Life award recipient Randy Jackson (L) and NAMM president & CEO Joe Lamond appear on stage at the 2013 NAMM Show - Day 1 at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 24, 2013 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images for NAMM)
The four days of Idea center sessions ran in 25 minute block presentations. Topics like “What to do When you Have too Much to Do” and “How to Turn an In-Store Event into Profits”, primarily targeted storeowners and buyers attending the event. Yet despite the broadly distributed social media and digital focused presentations, the Idea Centre shifted from half-full to standing-room-only several minutes before each digital topic. Social Media Best Practices sessions like “Best Facebook Marketing Examples You Can Use”, “Covering your Social Media Bases”, and “Understanding the Tablet Music Market” were hits that indicated an industry-wide interest in connecting to digital.
Interesting Online Tech as seen or heard at NAMM201:
• Lynda – detailed tutorials by subject or software designed to teach anything from playing a guitar, to learning Quickbooks.
• Yamaha Hub – Yamaha’s own social media feed/portal with a drop-down of key topics.
• https://www.tripit.com/ – Turns your email travel confirmations into itineraries.
• Boomerang – Schedule your Gmail or Outlook e-mails.
• Textpander for MAC (also available in iTunes) – create keywords/shortcuts to auto-type things that you frequently type out yourself.