Ever since attending my first Summer NAMM in Nashville TN in 2011, I’ve always considered the show the professional highlight of my year, giving me an unparalleled opportunity to mingle with our industry’s most influential people. And make no mistake: If you’re a dealer, you should be there, too. We know that almost all industries like to believe that they’re unique in having a close-knit connection among members, with a reunion-like vibe prevailing during trade expositions and other industry gatherings. In the music products business, however, this isn’t warm-and-fuzzy myth—it’s fact. And nowhere is our collective community spirit more clearly on display than at Summer NAMM, where, although the exhibit hall can’t match January’s extravaganza in Anaheim CA, enthusiasm nevertheless runs high, friends and colleagues greet each other warmly, and the entire industry celebrates the creativity, innovation and passion that suffuse this crazy business we call MI.
“Being part of NAMM and attending this event links you with a very special group of your peers, who share your vision of a more musical world,” NAMM’s President and CEO, Joe Lamond, said. Using the show’s tagline, “The Inspiration Begins Here,” as a leaping-off point, he continued, “Across the show floor and in all the education sessions, NAMM members can find sources of inspiration to better their businesses. And the timing of the show prepares you for that all important back-to-school season and for the holiday shopping season, when having that little extra spark really counts.” That value proposition clearly resonates, too, because Summer NAMM’s been enjoying steady growth for the last several years. In 2016, the show attracted 517 exhibitors and nearly 1,700 brands, along with 14,055 registrants. For this year, show organizers are on track to achieve six-percent growth in exhibitors, continuing the propitious trend.
As we all know, however, the association’s purpose in hosting trade events isn’t to chase ever-higher numbers; it aims to boost the music products industry. “NAMM is a service organization,” Lamond stressed, “and seeing members who’ve chosen to participate grow and prosper because of their involvement with Summer NAMM is the real end zone for us.” Harking back to his own days at the dealer level, he continued, “Some of the most important decisions we made while I was in retail occurred at Summer NAMM, and I suspect others have experienced the same thing. The ability to really connect with suppliers, along with the timing in the annual retail cycle, makes it an ideal opportunity to think strategically. That’s why retailers tell us it’s an essential element of their calendar.”