Anaheim, CA (January, 2020)—California’s Anaheim Convention Center is once again hosting the global pro audio community for NAMM 2020, as it looks to build on a record-shattering 2019 edition.
Now in its 119th year, the annual trade show continues to find new ways of attracting newcomers, whilst ensuring there’s plenty to keep regular exhibitors and attendees coming back. The show has proven especially popular with the pro-audio market in recent years, following the much-lauded launch of its dedicated pro-audio hall in 2018. The appeal to a significant audience beyond its traditional MI core is evident in its attendance and exhibitor figures. Last year, some 115,301 attendees flocked to the show, marking the biggest audience in the event’s history, with numerous exhibitors citing it as one of the best in recent memory. That figure represented a 7.5 percent increase on 2017.
Meanwhile, more than 2,000 exhibiting members graced the show floor to represent 7,000 brands. The show also saw significant gains in its global reach, achieving a targeted year-on-year increase of 14 percent in international participants.
PSNEurope editor Daniel Gumble caught up with NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond just days before the show started to discuss his ambitions for 2020 and the opportunities that lie ahead….
What can you tell us about this year’s pro-audio offering?
For over a century, NAMM has been a stable, reliable and predictable platform for the music products industry to come together to launch new products, enhance skills through great educational offerings and to learn and grow while networking with their peers. The past decade has increasingly seen the integration of all parts of the ‘signal chain’ from instrument to the studio to the performance stage. This crossroads effect of bringing the global music, sound and entertainment technology ecosystem together has been very exciting for our members and our team here at NAMM, and 2020 will absolutely be the best event yet.
So, to break that down, our exhibitors have worked all year to create new and innovative products for the pro-audio market. In my opinion, new products drive any market, and I’m certain that between the show floor and enhanced demo opportunities like the Loudspeaker Systems Showcase located inside the Arena, buyers, integrators and touring professionals will find the gear they need to be successful in 2020.
NAMM has always believed in education; I firmly believe the second pillar of any industry (and gathering like NAMM) is offering life-long learning. The pro-audio education at NAMM—which includes TEC Tracks, AES Academy at NAMM, A3E and Dante training—will cover everything from live sound mixing to mastering techniques to audio for virtual reality. There will also be plenty of great general business, management and marketing courses in NAMM U that are available to all attendees at no extra charge.
And the third pillar of our event is recognizing the value of networking, on and off the show floor. This includes the peer-to-peer exchanges at all the concerts, exhibitor parties and meet-ups in the hotel lobby bars and experiencing the comradery of a reunion of people who have dedicated their lives to music.
The show’s audio element has thrived over the past two years. Are you seeing an increase in demand for booth space?
Yes, we have been fortunate to retain the exhibitors who have been with us forever, as well as attracting many, many new friends. However, as an industry-owned show, we have always taken the long view. Bigger is not necessarily better; better is better. Earning the trust and providing real ROI for our exhibitors and attendees comes first. If we get that part right, the rest will follow.
Has the number of visitors in the pro-audio market grown in recent years?
Yes, thankfully the pro-audio community has embraced the NAMM Show and we are achieving our targets in buyers, installers and touring professionals. It seems to me our unique mix of these folks, along with the global musical instrument retailers and distributors, is offering our exhibitors many new potential customers that they might not normally have ever met at other shows.
How do you continue to please exhibitors old and new?
One thing NAMM members can count on: We are here to serve. Our whole team is dedicated to that mantra and we will always seek to do the right thing for all. With that, we listen carefully to feedback from the 7,000 brands and attendees of the show and strive to make improvements to enhance their experience.