Concert Reports


The NAMM Show


Music Industry Hits High Notes at 2017 NAMM Show Innovation meets time-tested craftsmanship for a record-breaking NAMM Show, where the global music product industry came together around the power of music



All Photos: Ray Soto / Central Coast Rocks


The world’s music products industry gathered in Anaheim, California last week for the annual NAMM Show, and with it, the symphonic harmonies of the industry could be heard echoing across the campus of the Anaheim Convention Center. Held January 19-22, globe-spanning members of the National Association of Music Merchants joined together to create a firm foundation for the music products industry to make new connections, reaffirm relationships, create and establish new business opportunities, experience world-class education, and build on the energy and enthusiasm shared by passionate, established, and entrepreneurial exhibiting brands, registrants, and artists.


“The NAMM Show" gathers our industry as a global community, which in turn drives opportunity,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO. “This event once again proved to be a stable, reliable platform for growth, both in business and in professional development, as well as in solidarity to share our common vision in creating a world of more music makers.”


A Firm Foundation: Community, Innovation, and Opportunity


The creative and entrepreneurial spirit of the music products industry was on display among the 7,000 brands and record 1,779 exhibiting companies found across the robust show floor where meaningful connections were made. “NAMM is the single greatest spot to get in touch with the people we need to connect with and show them the products that matter,” shared Paul Nunn of Ultimate Support.
The 3% increase in exhibiting companies is a direct reflection of the expanded capabilities, innovations, and new ways in which people – and companies – are making music today. This trend was also demonstrated in new exhibiting brands, which accounted for a growth of 2% over last year.


For many, the energy was palpable and provided a wealth of opportunities to set products before an international stage of artists, media, and attendees. “It’s truly a world stage; media is here, musicians are here; it’s one-stop-shopping for us as far as exposure,” commented Saul Koll, Koll Guitar Company. Alex Auxier, at Orange Amps echoed that sentiment: “NAMM is the only place in the world where all the distributors and dealers come together, so we get a huge chunk of business done every year here and it gives us a strong way to kick off the year.” Richard McDonald of Fender Musical Instruments Co. affirmed, “The NAMM show is extraordinarily important and it has grown over the years to really become the global show for our industry.” Of note, international registrants turned out in force, as demonstrated by a growing international pavilion area and in total, representation from 125 countries and 17,964 registrants - a 13% increase over 2016.


Overall show registration increased, primarily the result of member company badge allocations, by 5% to 106,928 from 2016. This member-driven model created a mix of retail employees, exhibitors, media, artists and endorsees, invited guests, NAMM’s GenNext (college music students), and Music Education Day participants (school music teachers and administrators) and NAMM member buyers, who turned out in force, a direct reflection of the optimism and enthusiasm that could be felt across the show floor. The registrants represent the vast ecosystem of those engaged in the business of making, selling and using music and sound products to achieve NAMM’s vision of creating more music makers of all ages around the world.


For both domestic and international buyers, the show continues to serve as a one-stop shop to meet with exhibitors, reaffirm relationships, and enthusiastically stock stores with products that music-makers are seeking. “We’re always on the lookout for new brands we can take into distribution, fun and unknown brands to come into the European market,” said Julien Bitoun of Woodbrass, France. “NAMM is the place to do that.” Joy Cafiero of Kala says that it’s all about the connections: “It’s the largest music trade show to be part of. We come mainly for the connections; everyone comes to one place and we can all do business together.” Tom Sumner of Yamaha echoed the positive sentiments: "Yamaha had its best NAMM show ever. The Yamaha display was packed with attendees including dealers, educators, artists and members of the press. Attendees were wowed by our booth and most of them stayed to catch individual demonstrations play with our gear and see a performance on our stage. We exceeded every goal we set for the show and were happy to see our dealers' positive mood.”


The Complete Signal Chain


Sound, studio, and stage professionals also had their place at home with TEC Tracks. The TEC sessions offered four themed days (Live Sound and Lighting, Futurism, Recording, and Music Business) and a robust schedule of more than 75 educational opportunities featuring the preeminent names in the pro audio world, including Peter Asher, Tom and Chris Lord-Alge, Mark Frink, the Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison, among many others. On Saturday, journalist Mr. Bonzai and Aerosmith engineer and producer Jack Douglas discussed the process of recording the classic Aerosmith album, Toys in the Attic, and surprised the crowd with a guest panelist: Aerosmith co-founder and lead guitarist Joe Perry.

Later in the evening, The NAMM TEC Awards celebrated the best in professional audio and sound production, recognizing Douglas with its Hall of Fame induction. The multi-talented actor and musician Johnny Depp was on hand to present Perry with the Les Paul Award. Upon receiving the award, Perry thanked his family and dedicated the award to his manager Howard Kaufman, who recently passed away. After accepting the award, Perry was joined by Hollywood Vampires bandmates Depp and rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as Aerosmith bandmate Brad Whitford in an all-star jam.


For the first time, The 2017 NAMM Show-hosted training and certification sessions for the multi-channel, digital networking protocol, Dante, which welcomed a capacity crowd. Software.NAMM, a showcase of music apps and technologies created in concert with IMSTA (International Music Software Trade Association), returned for its second year and featured top music software and app developers who were on hand to meet with prospective buyers and showcase their latest applications.


Notable NAMM Moments


As the NAMM community prepared to gather for the show, the mission of NAMM came alive at the pre-show Day of Service. Held on Tuesday, January 17 at Patrick Henry Elementary School, the day supported the school’s administrators, teachers, and students with a generous donation the member-enabled NAMM Foundation of $10,000 that will help to ensure that every child has access to music during the school day. Across the school’s classrooms, 30 NAMM members rolled up their sleeves and offered music lesson instruction with hand drums, guitars, and ukuleles.


Once at the show, a variety of events awaited members, including nightly performances on the Nissan NAMM Grand Plaza Stage, which kicked off the four days with a Thursday jam featuring rock guitarists RSO: Richie Sambora and Orianthi.



On Friday night, The NAMM Foundation's Celebration for Music Education welcomed former centerfielder for the New York Yankees and Turnaround Arts music education advocate, Bernie Williams and his All-Star Band plus special guests legendary percussionist, Poncho Sanchez and fellow Turnaround Arts artist Keb’ Mo’.


On Saturday, The NAMM Foundation and The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented R&B songstress Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes which featured a special introduction from musician Jackson Browne as part of The Lennon Bus’ 20th anniversary celebration.


On Friday, The She Rocks Awards returned to the Anaheim Hilton for their fifth annual event honoring notable women in the music industry. Honorees included Lita Ford, Shirley Manson (Garbage), Esperanza Spaulding, Sarah Command and Spector, among many other notable women in the music products industry.
In a week of rare wild weather in Southern California, the industry came together in the spirit of creating more music-makers. Jim DeBardi of Moog offered his perspective: “NAMM is not for us, it’s for them, the people we get to speak to face-to-face. Everyone is here because of a common connection on how to express ourselves. It is about having some sort of tool or process to express yourself.”




About NAMM


The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $16.6 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 102 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


« Back to Concert Reports