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….
Why are trade shows in general still so vital to the industry?
The music, sound and entertainment products industry operates in a complex adaptive system, which means a perfect understanding of the individual parts does not convey an understanding of the whole system. Each industry player in the system observes the other players and makes decisions to improve their chances based on those observations. Which companies have increased or decreased their exhibits, what are the main themes in educational sessions, which new products generate the most excitement, and which major headlines, announcements and awards are making waves? From these clues, each industry participant will draw up strategies towards their own personal definition of the “end zone.” No one knows what 2020 and beyond will look like, but I do know that the clues will be found when the global industry gathers at the NAMM Show. The amount of educational content (seminars, conferences, etc.) has increased year after year.
What do you have in store on that front for 2020?
With over 300 educational sessions scheduled from TEC Tracks, AES Academy at NAMM, A3E and Audinate’s Dante training, I would be hard-pressed to pick just a few to note. But I suspect that members seeking to expand their competitive advantage and to learn from expert presenters through the carefully curated sessions will find the opportunity to do so at the NAMM Show. The key is planning ahead and scheduling the sessions you really want to see and then building the rest of your itinerary from there.
How big a factor is this type of content in the show’s overall appeal to visitors?
Both exhibitors and attendees alike are putting much more value on this than in years past. The educational alliances with other like-minded organizations like A3E, AES, and ESTA share in a vision to create more music makers and a desire to serve our respective industry and its members – especially when it comes to our mutual desire to continue to support the professional development of members. At NAMM, we believe that the three key ingredients of a successful NAMM show include a robust trade show floor with the latest innovative products, relevant and high value education and the socializing and networking that happens at all the concerts, parties and meet-ups across the various hotel lobby bars that remind us all of our shared passion for music and our true purpose as we dedicate our lives to this great industry.
As we enter the 2020s, what have been some of the key moments for NAMM over the past 10 years, and what are your predictions for the years ahead?
As Pete Townshend once sang in ‘Music Must Change,’ ‘Deep in the back of my mind is an unrealized sound, every feeling I get from the street says it soon could be found.’ The keyword there being change. We tend to think that just because things have been the way they are for a while, that they will always be that way. That is just about the time when everything changes and the new comes in. Will the next decade look like the last? I doubt it, and besides, who would really want that anyway?
What are the biggest opportunities for NAMM in the current market?
Fulfill our vision of a world where every child has a right to learn music and where every adult is a defender of that right. Oh, and world peace…
What are the biggest challenges?
I’m a drummer, so I like to think of things in terms of rhythm. The ideal world seems logical to me in a comfortable 4/4 beat or possibly a nice ¾ waltz. The world today is something right out of a King Crimson nightmare or possibly Frank Zappa’s ‘The Black Page.’ Keeping NAMM the stable and reliable partner for our member companies and the global industry through all of this is Job Number One. Although NAMM came into being in 1901 (think of how much has changed since then), I feel like we’re running a 119-year-old start-up. Each year is experimental—how exciting!