Concert Reports


The NAMM Show


Global Music Product Industry’s Passion Reflected at 2014 NAMM Show

Four-day annual event proves once again that the music community knows how to have a great time, while still taking care of business  

Anaheim, CA  – When the business is music, it’s a fine line between good times and work. Produced by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), the NAMM Show provided the most effective platform across four jam-packed days filled with new product debuts, networking, and educational opportunities set to the soundtrack of live music and conversation among friends old and new. From January 23-26, every aspect of the music instrument and products industry including retailers, corporate buyers, artists and sound and lighting professionals did business with nearly 5000 unique brands in Anaheim, CA.



All Photos: Ray Soto/Central Coast Rocks 

Carlsbad, Calif. (January 27, 2014) – The music product industry returns to businesses in every corner of the globe with a renewed confidence following the 2014 NAMM Show held in Anaheim, Calif., January 23-26. Promising signs of revitalization brought together more than 5,000 brands from around the world looking to reach the global buying audience found at the NAMM Show. Expanding product categories such as technology-driven music products and emerging brands pushed the show to its one of its largest and most diverse editions ever.


Ibanez22.jpg“As the global platform for the music products industry, the NAMM Show is an annual checkup for what is happening in the music marketplace worldwide,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “A focus on doing business reflected confidence among buyers and manufacturers alike. Fortified with NAMM U education, networking and fun opportunities that only occur at the NAMM Show, NAMM Members expressed to me a renewed spirit for the year ahead. I believe that the stage is set for growth in 2014.”


Emerging brands, growth in pro audio and the music technology category, and an increase in international exhibitors, converged for the second -highest exhibiting company number ever. In total there were 1,533 exhibiting companies representing 5,010 Brands. Meeting those brands was a 2% increase in buyers over 2013. Buyers arrived in Anaheim focused on rebuilding inventory after a strong school music season, and on building up categories currently experiencing strong consumer demand. In total, 96,129 members of the music product industry registered for the 2014 NAMM Show.


Exhibitors noted that crowds arrived eager for new products and ready to get down to business. "I don't know what's going on, but this year is phenomenal; we have been slammed! The buyers are buying!” said Ari Baron, vice president of marketing for Eastman Music Company. Dave Smith of his eponymous instrument brand also saw a lot of traffic, "NAMM is the only trade show we attend. This is it -- the hub of our outreach, our PR, our marketing. We meet with our current dealers, sign up new dealers, and show artists our new instruments so they can play them and hear how they perform. We've been incredibly busy the whole show!"


OriPerform70.jpgRetailers large and small return to their businesses with new product lines and categories that will hit shelves in a matter of months. “I’m most focused on meeting up with major suppliers that I’ve done business with or do business with and seeing what they’ve got––new products in particular,” said Richard Ash, CEO of Sam Ash Music. “We are also looking for new companies that come out of the woodwork and have a product that will break through to the marketplace. If you’re a musician, it’s the ultimate kid in a candy store thing.”


In addition to products, retailers search for valuable ideas gleaned from five full days of educational offerings. “I come for inspiration and I always find it,” said Rob Kittle of Kittle’s Music in North Platte, NE. “I find products I never knew were out there. The buying I do and the things I see at the NAMM Show definitely influence my business for the year.”


Rob Joseph, president of the manufacturers’ rep firm the R. Joseph group, saw a renewed interest in buying across the diverse categories they represent. “I saw more traffic on Thursday and Friday than any year that I can remember in a decade. Buyers and manufacturers are substantially more optimistic and that is reflected in the overall tone of the show.”



NEW TO NAMM New entrepreneurs and categories entering the music market brought 303 new exhibiting companies to the show. Video giant GoPro made its NAMM Show debut to introduce a new line of mounts designed to capture musical performances. “We chose to launch our new music products at the NAMM Show because the entire industry is here,” said Neil Dana, GoPro’s director of international sales and music. "This is the place to make a statement in the industry and enter the market."

First-time exhibitor Matsikas Music House found a solid reception for its intricately inlaid Greek bouzoukis. George Matsikas brought his handcrafted traditional instruments to NAMM to explore the potential for growth in the U.S. market. “We’ve met so many musicians curious about the bouzoukis, and dealers intrigued by the possibilities. The United States has so many music people. We’ll certainly come back in 2015,” he said.


INTERNATIONAL NAMM Membership and in turn the NAMM Show is increasingly global, as reflected in the 6% increase in international attendees. Kevin Ross of C.B.I. Professional Wiring Systems exhibited at NAMM specifically to connect with international distributors. “It’s one of the main reasons why we come to NAMM, and we do realize a significant return on our investment.” The global scope of the NAMM Show is most clear walking the show floor. This year 636 exhibitors from outside of the United States made up more than one-third of the total exhibiting companies. These companies come from 49 different countries to unveil their brands’ new products at the show. “People have this passion and belief in helping people make music, and it all comes from NAMM,” said Jon Gold of Music Force Distribution, The Academy of Sound and The Music Store in the U.K. “It’s a must-do in the calendar for the year. We’re living in very challenging times, however when you come here on the show floor and you look at people with the passion they have for it, we’ve just got to communicate—we’ve got great products, it’s a great industry, it’s exciting. And so coming to NAMM gives you what you need to get back on the treadmill and do it.”


HANDCRAFTED TO HIGH TECH Traditional instruments of every shape and size share the NAMM Show stage with high-tech wunderkind brands and the latest DJ products. As the way people learn to play and make music in new ways, the two worlds are more interconnected than ever before.

Fretted acoustic instruments and DJ gear are enjoying strong demand at retail, which carried over to vibrancy across categories on the NAMM Show floor. Bruce Weber of Weber Fine Instruments noted that a large segment of customers trying out his fretted, acoustic mandolins were a younger group. “Kids, really” he said. “We’ve noticed the trend to a younger crowd who are turning to back to acoustic music as a creative challenge instead of the gaming. And they’re good! We are having a blast here. Best winter NAMM we have ever had.”

“We are looking to expand our uke offerings and entry acoustic, but also looking for more technology products, especially DJ gear,” said Joe Pritchard of the Pritchard Music Academy in Gaithersburg, MD. “We have realized that we need to have the DJ segment offered.”


MAKING CONNECTIONS The Grand Plaza, unveiled in 2013, was reimagined this year as a more intimate networking area by turning the stage around to face the Convention Center. NAMM Members made good use of the area, soaking in the southern California sunshine and meeting with friends old and new over good food, great music and craft beers. After dark, performances by Jonny Lang, Sheila E., and Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen brought attendees together with rocking live music. Friday’s TEC Awards ceremony welcomed industry insiders to honor sound production and performance pros, while DJ performances, acoustic artists, drum circles and more rounded out the entertaining diversions.




The Lennon Bus

LennonBus.jpgParked in an exciting new location on the centralized Grand Plaza next to the NAMM GoPro Stage, the Lennon Bus welcomed trade show attendees with its elaborate display of onboard state-of-the-art equipment, advanced technology, and innovative capabilities. The Lennon Bus also announced new initiatives with Neutrik USA, Audio-Technica, Digital Media Academy, the Los Angeles Academy of Music (LACM), as well as the heralded return of founding sponsor, Yamaha Corporation of America. Moving forward, the renowned manufacturer will provide digital keyboards and drums for the Bus' educational outreach efforts and music education advocacy programs in association with the NAMM Foundation.


On Wednesday, January 22, Art Alexakis, lead singer for the band, Everclear, was on-hand as a guest songwriting mentor to work with students from LACM. Recently named the head of the College's new songwriting program, Alexakis worked with students in creating an original song and video, which was premiered on Friday January 24th as part of the Lennon Bus' annual Imagine Party. The official kick-off to the Lennon Bus' 2014 Tour, the party also featured a performance by Alexakis, as well as a full concert by the incomparable musician, Sheila E.


Annual NAMM TEC AWARDS (Technical Excellence & Creativity)

TECLogo1.jpgRecording industry legends, musicologists and titans of the audio universe came together for an evening of musical celebrations and honors at the 29th Annual NAMM TEC AWARDS (Technical Excellence & Creativity). Winners were announced in 30 technical and creative categories at the show, which was held at the Anaheim Hilton in Anaheim, Calif., January 24, 2014. The awards event recognizes the individuals, companies and technical innovations behind the sound of recordings, live performances, films, television, video games and other media. Hosted by Film Composer, Dance Music Technologist “BT”, Todd Rundgren received the Les Paul Award and Presenters included: Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, electro-funk icon George Clinton, EVERCLEAR’s Art Alexakis, “T-Boz” and “Chilli” of the pop group TLC



DELVE TEXAS PRODUCTIONS presents HEINEKEN NAMM JAM 2014, the "go-to event", at NAMM

JAMM2014.jpgPresented by Heineken and sponsored by Jackson & Charvel Guitars, Monster Energy, Rock-n-Roll GangStar, EVH Amps, SIT Strings, Best-Tronics Pro Audio, Newtek and Cube Passes, HEINEKEN NAMM JAM 2014 featured an energetic evening of music, fashion and camaraderie.


Performances included the long-awaited return of legendary guitarist, JAKE E. LEE with his new project, RED DRAGON CARTEL; progressive metal titans, PERIPHERY; international guitar virtuoso, Jake Allen, GUTHRIE GOVAN & THE ARISTOCRATS; and, the always eye-catching JONNY COFFIN FASHION SHOW.



Now in its 5th year, the Friday night NAMM JAM is considered by NAMM Show attendees as "the hottest ticket at NAMM". This invitation-only* event was once again held at the fabulous Grove Of Anaheim on Friday, January 24th




iZotope Private Launch Party with BT

iZotope and BT Release BreakTweaker

BT.jpgiZotope, Inc., a leading audio technology company, and GRAMMY®-nominated composer and technologist, BT, have combined creative forces to bring you a drum sculpting and beat sequencing environment that blurs the line between rhythm and melody.

Designed by BT

Following their joint release of the live re-mixing plug-in, Stutter Edit, BT and iZotope are now back again with BreakTweaker. Featuring BT's patented micro edit technology based on pioneering rhythmic sound design research, BreakTweaker aims to change the way we think about rhythm and pitch.

For more information, visit the BreakTweaker website: and watch the BreakTweaker overview video:



The She Rocks Awards

SheRocksAwards.jpgNow in its second year, the She Rocks Awards pay tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry. This year, honorees included Sheila E, Janie L. Hendrix and many more. Honoring women who stand out in the music industry, the She Rocks Awards took place Friday, January 24, 2014 from 8:30AM to 10:00AM at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel (Ballroom E) in Anaheim, Calif., during the 2014 NAMM show. Other honorees included Dinah Gretsch, Maricela "MJ" Jaurez and Beth Marlis



Industry Drum Circle

Musicians of all levels made some noise of their own at the All-Industry Drum Circle Friday, January 25 at 6 p.m. in the Palm Terrace Court. On Sunday January 27, NAMM Show attendees’ experience ended on a high note with the Wanna Play Ukulele Circle at 3:30 p.m. on The Venue Stage in the Arena Plaza. The NAMM Foundation hosts both events. Instruments and instruction are provided.


Educational sessions primed attendees for success. “It’s always good to come see what’s new, but it’s also fun to put a face with a name or voice,” said Bob Williamson, owner of Symphony Music Shop in Dartmouth, MA. “We saw some friends at the breakfast sessions we did not expect to see, which was a delight. I’m going home with some new ideas, and some good friendships!” NAMM Members crowded opening-day’s Breakfast of Champions, where industry leaders spoke about ‘breakthroughs,’ West Music Company President/CEO Robin Walenta gave a heartfelt address, and Music for Life winner Smokey Robinson made a surprise appearance. “There’s nothing more effective than listening to the great leaders of your industry to help you decide what’s working, what’s not, and how to change things up in the pursuit of excellence,” said Menzie Pittman of Contemporary Music Center in Virginia.


About NAMM The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $16.7 billion music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. NAMM's activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of approximately 9000 Member companies located in more than 92 countries. For more information about NAMM or the proven benefits of making music, interested parties can visit, call 800-767-NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  


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