By Noe Gutierrez
The NAMM Show is a yearly event held at the Anaheim Convention Center and is considered the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products, pro audio and event tech industry. NAMM fortifies the $17 billion global music, sound and event technology products industry. The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) attracts countless famous musicians, many of whom are endorsed by exhibitors and come to promote their own signature models and equipment. The show is closed to the public and is a trade-only business show catering to domestic and international dealers and distributors. The product exhibits are an essential part of the show, allowing the dealers and distributors to see what’s new, negotiate deals and plan their purchasing for the next 6 to 12 months.
Desert Music was able to attend The NAMM Show this year and rub elbows with some of the biggest music and lighting manufacturers in the world. We sat in on meetings with companies like Shure Microphones and American DJ Lighting. We also attended speaker sessions that covered a wide range of music related topics like sales, marketing, branding and management. Desert Music caught up with some of the Coachella Valley’s big names and 2019 NAMM attendees to share their experience this year.
David Williams (Owner and Operator of Melrose Music Palm Springs & Hollywood): “I was able to spend all day Friday at NAMM. Nothing crazy caught my eye. I actually have too much gear so I wasn’t looking too hard. It’s essentially a trade show for manufacturers of musical products to display and sell their latest products to music gear wholesalers i.e. retail music stores across America. Over the past 20 years it’s turned into a social event for artists to meet up.”
Giselle Woo (guitarist/vocalist): “NAMM went well. It was definitely a learning experience. I feel it’s important for those that take their trade seriously. For sound engineers and musicians alike, the latest in technology was in plain sight. It’s four days of endless knowledge from guest speakers and demonstrations on how to work console boards and what not. I loved seeing insanely talented musicians ripping it and shredding it. It was a good first time.”
John Carey (guitarist/vocalist): “It’s cool that artists in the Coachella Valley are making steps in the music business and concert venues by attending NAMM. I saw new monitors for the iMac, a lot of new guitar processors and guitar cables and picks. My current endorsements are: TTM Guitars and Basses, Black Diamond Strings, Guitar Straps by DW, Guitar Strings by Otimia, Line 6 and Bogner Amps.”
Stephen Otero (Owner and Operator of 13 Graves Studios, guitarist): “NAMM was amazing! As usual. I look forward to it each year. It is important to have these trade shows because it keeps all of us in the music industry (no matter how big or small we contribute) in the know. The NAMM Show is not just a showcase of new gear coming out. They also have a very large educational platform where different companies will bring in big name producers, mixing engineers, and artist to give tutorials on their craft. NAMM absolutely recharges my soul and gets me excited to begin the New Year. It reminds me how big the music industry still is and that it is alive and well. Ibanez is releasing new prestige models geared towards lower tunings and they are equipping a few with Fishman Fluence pickups and are even offering Bareknuckle pickups in some of their prestige models, which is awesome. Waves just released a new plugin the Chris Lord-Alge (CLA) MixHub. Now mix engineers can mix up to 64 tracks from one plugin. This is a game changer and mind-blowing!”
Mark Gregg (guitarist/vocalist): “I went for fun this year with my girls. I have a small manufacturing company called Magus Innovations that has been partially inactive for a couple of years but we will start manufacturing at least partially in the CV this year. I’ve been an exhibitor in the past. It’s a lot of work and a whole lot of cost. These trade shows are important for a number of reasons. It allows retailers to hook up with manufacturers for the fiscal year and companies are able to place orders from one piece to tens of thousands. It enables distributors and retailers to connect with a number of manufactures to do a lion’s share of buying for stock for the year and to discover new and undiscovered instruments, accessories and even strategies for resale and renting. Another thing NAMM does is operate as a non-profit organization for music education. Which I’m sure you’ll agree is a good thing. I was very interested in seeing Gibson’s offerings after their corporate shakeup last year. They didn’t even do NAMM last year and many thought they would cease making instruments. With the internet, it’s easy to keep up with new products all year long so I didn’t see anything too surprising. My musical instrument tastes tend toward vintage anyway. My current endorsements are Heil Microphones and Magus Innovations.
Sergio Villegas (guitarist/multi-instrumentalist/vocalist): The NAMM Show this year was extremely busy. When you are at this kind of event, you realize how many musicians are in this world. There was a lot of new technology in instruments and all things related to the music. I’ve been to the event for years. I try to get more endorsements and see friends that sometimes we see only at The NAMM Show. This year I got a new guitar and new endorsements. Also, a lot of Coachella Valley musicians were there.”