Concert Reports


The NAMM Show


Innovation and Inspiration on Display at the Crossroads as the Music Products, Pro Audio and Event Technology Industry Convenes at The 2019 NAMM Show



All Photos: Ray Soto / Central Coast Rocks


During the course of four days at The 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California (Jan 24-27), the global leaders of the music products, pro audio and event technology industries gathered at the Crossroads for new product introductions, business opportunities, networking and fresh inspiration from over 400 educational sessions, as 115,301 registered industry professionals committed to serving the music community and advancing the industry forward in the year ahead. 



We live in accelerated times in technological developments and global business and market conditions, and that can create unpredictability in any industry,” shared Joe Lamond, NAMM President and CEO. “However, if you take a look around The NAMM Show, one could find many reasons to feel quite comfortable about the importance of music around the world and future of the music products industry. From the exciting innovations of our exhibiting members, the creativity of our retail members in finding enhanced ways to serve their communities, especially music educators, to the expanded live sound, lighting and event tech professionals and companies who made the trip to Anaheim, the connections, business opportunities, and education offered each the tools needed to succeed in the year ahead.”

The Pulse of the Industry


With business at the top of the agenda, the Show welcomed over 2,000 exhibiting member companies, representing 7,000 brands. Realigned member badge allocations to ensure an enhanced professional attendance resulted in a more focused business experience with a slight increase in attendees and achieved a targeted year-over-year increase of 14% in international participants recognizing the global importance of The NAMM Show. Attendees were an invited mix of industry professionals including domestic and international retail and distribution buyers and employees, exhibitors, event tech and pro audio buyers and professionals, media, artists, invited guests and The NAMM Foundation GenNext (college music students), Music Education Day (school music administrators and buyers) and Nonprofit Institute (NAMM grantees and affiliates) participants.


Positioned as the first show of the calendar, the strong turnout of domestic and international buyers and distributors points especially to the importance placed on The NAMM Show to see the latest products and brands available, and the excitement of when the industry gathers together: “For four days, the center of the music universe is right here at The NAMM Show where we’re connecting with our top customers and artists,” stated David Glaubke of HARMAN Professional Solutions. “This continues to be the premier event to launch products that will shape how music is made, performed and recorded for years to come.”


“The NAMM vibe goes way beyond just presenting your product–it’s about creating energy and moments for our Gibson players,” said James “J.C.” Curleigh of Gibson. “You create the memories, and they stay with people forever. It’s pretty exciting.”


“NAMM 2019 was a landmark show for Yamaha. You could say it was a year of growth for us. After witnessing the excitement and energy in the audio-focused North Hall last year, we added a new booth this year dedicated to our Yamaha and Nexo Commercial Audio solutions. We met with lots of old friends and found some new ones at the North Hall booth,” offered Tom Sumner, Yamaha Corporation of America. “We also added a separate display for Ampeg bass amps. The crazy-big 14-foot tall SVT was a popular display in the Marriott lobby and the Ampeg booth was PACKED from opening to closing every day…. A big show for Yamaha indeed.”


Notable NAMM Moments

On Tuesday, January 22, dozens of music industry leaders gathered at Loara Elementary School to help students learn to play ukulele, guitar, and drums, as well as engaged in choral and movement sessions as part of the organization’s Day of Service. Now in its fifth year, the day put “advocacy into action” with support for the Anaheim Elementary School District and its efforts to provide music education to every child. “The support that we have received from NAMM is phenomenal, not just for the check they present us each year but for literally launching us in this program for our district,” shared AESD Board of Education member Jackie Filbeck. “After 20 years of not having music, NAMM came, took us by the hand, and started us on this journey that has evolved in ways that are just phenomenal. From the very beginning with just a few students getting instruction, to now our entire district–it is an absolute favorite of parents, and we couldn’t be more grateful and thankful for the support of NAMM.” “The Day of Service is an opportunity for us to give back through music education and continue to champion the right for every student to make music,” said Scott Mandeville of Tim’s Music. “It’s really a fabulous opportunity because music education positively impacts markers of academic success.”


Later in the week on Thursday, The NAMM Foundation Celebration for Music Education celebrated the advocacy and dedication of NAMM members with a performance from the duo, Black Violin. Composed of classically trained violist and violinist Wil B and Kev Marcus, the pair combined their classical training and hip-hop influences with their DJ to create a distinctive multi-genre sound that is often described as “classical boom.”

On Friday, an all-star line-up from Yamaha came together for an unforgettable multi-artist extravaganza with the Yamaha All-Star Concert on the Grand 2019. Performers included Jon McLaughlin, Loren Allred, Jonathan Butler, Sarah McLachlan, and James “J.T.” Taylor.

On Saturday evening at the annual “Imagine Party,” The NAMM Foundation and The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus presented by Other World Computing welcomed singer and songwriter, Elle King. King blended pop, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll into a sound that’s all her own to the delight of the NAMM crowd.


Prior to King taking the stage, the Butte Strong United Choir performed “You Will Be Found.” The choir was created to draw together high school students to heal a community after the fire that poured over the Paradise Ridge and devastated the communities of Paradise, Magalia, and Concow in Butte County. Choir director Sam Gronseth recently retired from teaching music at Paradise High School but has been active in the community since the tragedy. He says, “The students in this choir are amazing musicians, but even more, they understand the power music holds to bring people together. A significant portion of our singers lost homes, belongings, pets, friends, and community. Each choir member has been impacted in some way, yet their heart is to draw people together to heal. Music is our tool, and we couldn’t be more honored to be here sharing this inspiring story with so many at NAMM.”


Other special performances included the Roomful of Pianos on Thursday and Friday at the Show which gathered pianists for performances of The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Paul Dukas) arranged for 15 pianos and on Friday, Nocturnes: Nuages and Fêtes (Claude Debussy) arranged for 30 pianists. On Saturday and Sunday, the Arena Plaza featured the Earth Harp, the world’s longest playable stringed instrument reached from the balcony of the ACC North building to the Plaza. The harp was played live by its creator William Close, the LA-based inventor who holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest stringed instrument in the world.


The communal music-making continued at both drum and ukulele circles throughout the Show, as well as Saturday morning’s Grand Rally for Music Education, where Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre held a special discussion and encore viewing of his new film, "Deep Field,” inspired by the iconic Hubble Telescope’s Deep Field images; Whitacre was later awarded with the SupportMusic Champion Award. Whitacre spoke of his memories of the impact school music education in his life: “I remember very clearly…. And looking back on it now, just the experience of hearing Mozart, it was clear that music was a part of me, that I have to make music, I have to share music. Music was in me, and I left that room absolutely transformed determined to make music my vocation.” The Grand Rally also featured a Whitacre-led performance of CloudBurst and Fly to Paradise, as well as a performance from trumpeter Jonathan Dely, accompanied by The NAMM Foundation board member and former NY Yankee, Bernie Williams.



Honoring the Industry’s Leaders and Luminaries


Friday night’s Parnelli Awards recognized the pioneering, influential professionals and companies for their contributions to the live production industry. Founded in 2001 and named after industry luminary Rick “Parnelli” O’Brien, the awards brought together the live entertainment community in a vibrant annual gathering to recognize the best-in-class across 22 different categories. Brock Adamson of Adamson Systems was honored with the Parnelli Innovator Award; Yvan Miron of Stageline received the Parnelli Visionary Award; and Chris Adamson, Tour Manager for the likes of Pink Floyd, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder, and many others received the Parnelli Lifetime Achievement Award. On Friday eve at the House of Blues, the She Rocks Awards honored the likes of artists Macy Gray, Lisa Loeb, Nita Strauss, Erika Ender, and a variety of industry professionals, including Lynette Sage (Reverb), Samantha Pink (JAM Industries) and Terri Winston (Women’s Audio Mission) for their contributions to the music industry.


Later in the week on Saturday, the 34th Annual TEC Awards recognized 31 categories of products and projects in the areas of Technical or Creative Achievement, and the individuals, companies and technical innovations used in sound recordings, films, broadcast television, and video games. View the complete list here of TEC Award winners here.


At the TEC Awards, Peter Frampton was recognized with the Les Paul Innovation Award, an honor which is given to individuals that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of recording technology in the spirit of the famed audio pioneer, inventor, and musician, Les Paul. Of the award, Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation, offered “Peter Frampton remains one of the most skillful and celebrated artists in rock history. He also was a friend of Les Paul’s and has played a pivotal role in helping the Foundation keep Les’s legacy alive. Like Les, he is an undeniable master of his instrument and in many ways ahead of his time. We are honored to have Peter join the impressive list of Les Paul Innovation Award recipients.”


After rocking the hall with several classics that included “I Want You to Love Me,” and “Blackhole Sun,” dedicated to the late Chris Cornell, Frampton remarked, “Les Paul was the godfather of modern recording, the most innovative of guitar players, and the creator of what we do. It’s a debt we all owe him. Whatever I’ve done to win this amazing recognition started with Les – Les showed us that innovation isn’t about high tech or money – it’s about ideas and using the tools at your disposal to make music in ways it’s never been made before.” Frampton joins Jackson Browne, Joe Perry, Don Was, Slash, Todd Rundgren and others with the Les Paul Innovation Award. Along with Frampton, Leslie Ann Jones, the groundbreaking engineer, producer and Director of Music and Scoring for Skywalker Sound was inducted into the TEC Hall of Fame. At the awards ceremony, Jones shared “it’s one thing to get an award for a particular project, it’s another thing to get an award for your career and the life that you’ve led…” Jones joins luminaries Rose Mann Cherney, Skunk Baxter, Hal Blaine, Jack Douglas, Nathan East, Geoff Emerick, and others with her induction, the industry’s highest honor for pioneers of audio technology and the music industry’s most accomplished producers and audio technicians.



Looking to the Future

The 2020 NAMM Show will return to Anaheim, California January 16-19. Summer NAMM will reconvene the industry in Nashville, Tennessee July 18-20.


About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 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, Instagram and Twitter.


« Back to Concert Reports