The biggest event in our industry calendar is almost upon us…
Every year you’ll notice NAMM or NAMM Show related articles, trending topics, etc. doing the rounds. By now you may already be clued up as to what the craic is. However, for those who are still none the wiser, let us fill you in on what is going on.
What is NAMM?
Just to clear things up first, NAMM stands for National Association of Music Merchants and is, in fact, a global community of companies that manufacture, distribute, and/or retail musical instruments/products. With NAMM membership you gain access to trade shows, NAMM’s annual Global Report, access to development resources and training, and much more.
The NAMM Show / Summer NAMM
However, when most talk about NAMM they are generally referring to The NAMM Show, which takes places each year in January. Growing from modest beginnings way back in 1901, Winter NAMM – as it is sometimes referred to as there’s also *Summer NAMM – is the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products, pro audio, and event tech industry. Over 115,000 registrants from 139 countries and regions boasting a whopping £8+ billion at their disposal will make the annual pilgrimage to Anaheim.
*Summer NAMM takes place in Nashville and focuses more on industry meetings and professional development rather than products.
Lots of lovely new gear
If it’s new products that you’re after though, then The NAMM Show is where you’re likely to find out about it first. From smaller start-ups and boutique brands to industry-leading giants, all and sundry congregate at the Anaheim Convention Centre – a stone’s throw from Disneyland Resort over the road -, to showcase their wares and it’s not unfair to expect big things.
Attendees: Who can and can’t go to The NAMM Show?
Unfortunately, simply being a musician or music enthusiast doesn’t qualify you to go, you’ve got to work in the music industry to be a NAMM member and get a coveted pass. From the fella down your local music shop to those manning the desks in world-renowned studios across the globe, if you’re a NAMM member then you’re in.
If you represent an industry publication, are a journalist/blogger/YouTuber then you get to hear, see, and touch new musical gear/instruments and share that joy with the world via your platform of choice. NAMM is so popular that it generates over 1 billion social media impressions!
The NAMM Show Survival Guide
For those who are heading out to NAMM 2020 we’ve put together a quick checklist of recommendations to – hopefully – make things a bit easier:
1. Dress comfortably: You’re going to clock up lots of miles (LOTS OF MILES) across the four/five days minimum that you’ll be in LA. Invest in some lightweight footwear and loose-fitting attire as you’re about to burn off any calories you clocked up over Christmas and New Year. Last year one of our guys clocked up over 30,000 steps a day and he was the least active of the lot.
2. Stay hydrated / Carry snacks aplenty: Keep munching and sipping your way through each day as you’ll likely be that buzzed with all the excitement that you’ll forget and then crash hard at the point of no return. Make sure that you top yourself up evenly and you’ll still have plenty in the tank to see you through.
3. Avoid NAMM-flu: Meeting and greeting with over 100,000 fellow humans in a confined space over a week-long stint, what could go wrong? You just know that at least one person is going to have a cough or a cold (or worse) so do yourself a favour and make sure that you’ve got some hand sanitizer, and plenty of meds to see you through just in case. Better to be safe than sorry.
4. Be mindful of others: As much as you’re in awe of everything that is going on, don’t be that person who gets in everyone’s way by standing there gawping. Common sense really but you’d be surprised by how often it happens. Ever been walking down a busy high street and someone suddenly stops in front of you for no apparent reason? Yeah. That. Don’t do that.
5. Plan ahead: The NAMM Event Schedule is your best friend here as well as the NAMM app. Get a jump on everyone else by ensuring that you get to see and do everything that you want to. Try to be realistic as there is so much going on that you’re not going to see absolutely everything that is happening. However, with a little forward planning, you’ll pack in much more than by simply rushing about when you land.
6. Take a break: During the day, be mindful to take a break and rest those feet. Take notes during the day as you go along to keep a log of what you’ve seen, what you’ve liked, what you might want to revisit, etc. The sheer volume of noise and traffic throughout each day is enough to assault the senses so give them some TLC periodically to avoid burnout on the first day.
7. Enjoy yourself: This probably goes without saying but enjoy yourself! Chances are some of your favourite artists will be knocking about, you’re going to see bleeding-edge technology, find out about new products before anyone else, and hang out with contemporaries from around the globe. Work hard but don’t forget to play hard too.
For all your NAMM Show needs, keep coming back to Studio D for the latest information with regard to product releases, behind-the-scenes footage, artist interviews, and much more…
Jon is a multi-instrumentalist with a passion for inspiring others to get involved in making music. After spending many years playing venues here, there and – pretty much – everywhere, he joined the Dawsons’ Music Web Team before progressing into his current role managing the Dawsons Blog.