When I arrived at the Anaheim Convention Center for the 115th annual National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show held in Anaheim, CA, what impressed me the most was the inquisitive and diverse array of attendees at the convention. NAMM experienced a record number of eclectic and colorful exhibitors this year, from big corporations to family-run small businesses, and registrants from rockers to modular synth engineers. NAMM had it all.
It certainly holds a great reputation and expectations are high. In total 1,726 companies were on exhibit this year with 101,736 registrants in attendance. NAMM is obviously a great opportunity for buyers and retail sellers to meet face to face, but the event also supports Music Education Day for school music teachers and Generation Next for college music students. The four-day music education sessions were sold out all four days.
The NAMM show is about looking at the music industry to see the “big picture,” to gain perspective on where things are heading, and to witness potential areas of growth for the future. Front and center at the entrance were analog synthesizers and modular gear beautifully displayed, particularly the Moog area which featured carpets with soft pillows enabling visitors to sit down and get hands-on with the equipment. Sales of modular synths have been steadily trending upwards and more engineers are creating new brands. My favorites were Make Noise Music and Verbose Electronics, due to their striking aesthetics and pressure sensitive controls. Next up on the main floor were offerings from heavy hitter manufacturers like AVID, Tascam, SSL, and my personal favorite, Korg, where I got to spend some quality time with their new analog synth, the Minilogue.
Demonstrations were presented on every corner attracting huge crowds of people, some with DJ’s playing to audiences as big as 100 people. Rane Corporation put on quite a big showcase for their immensely popular new rotary mixers. Even soundproof booths for meetings were available for those needing to do private negotiations. Well-known artists like Chaka Khan and “Weird AL” Yankovic made a presence at NAMM. The event culminated in a gala awards show. I thought it was especially cool that they included the She Rock Awards paying tribute to women who are role models in the music industry.
NAMM was like nothing I have ever experienced, and I would heartily recommend it to anyone considering going next year. Big thanks to IPR Campus Director, Norbert Kreuzer, who continually prioritizes this school’s commitment to staying abreast of new trends and developments in music technology.
Written by IPR Admissions Representative, Tanya Norman