“I couldn’t imagine not coming to this show. We have at least 20 people here – buyers, sales management, marketing including people creating web content,” says Chuck Surack, president and founder of Sweetwater Sound. “And I love Nashville. At this show I spend quality time with products and vendors, really getting to talk with people, friends.” Stopped mid-aisle while searching out new products Surack added, “Our roots are in pro audio, so we’re looking there, but we sold 75,000 guitars last year and this year we’re on track to sell more – so we’re also looking at lots of guitars.”
This year’s Summer NAMM saw another increase in exhibiting companies, making it the largest mid-year event since 2006. In total, there were 494 exhibiting companies representing more than 1,600 brands.
The number of buyers attending Summer NAMM increased another per cent over 2014, which saw eight per cent growth over 2013. Most significant was an increase in the number of buying firms, which was up 26 per cent contributing to the strong buying power and diversity in buying audiences noted by exhibitors. In total 13,936 people registered for Summer NAMM, a 13 per cent increase over 2014.
One hundred companies, including Studio Linked VST, Ortega Guitars, OwnPhones, Pedalboard Supplies, and Bugera, made their Summer NAMM debuts. Another 65 companies returned to the show after a hiatus from exhibiting, including Orange Amplification, Peavey Electronics, and Alesis.
Many manufacturers took advantage of the mid-year event to release new products that traditionally would have come out at the January NAMM Show, allowing them to profit from the upcoming holiday season. Attending Summer NAMM for the first time in five years, Zildjian’s return came down to timing. “We were ready to launch new products right now, so the timing was perfect,” says Dan Wiseman, director of brand activation for Zildjian.
In an effort to reach the growing music technology audience now gathering at Summer NAMM and debut new products, Roland Corp. U.S. doubled their presence expanding demos beyond guitar-related products to also include keyboards, V-Drums, DJ and modular gear. “The timing is allowing us to debut products here that we’d traditionally have held for later in the cycle,” said Chris Halon, director of marketing for Roland.
This year’s show saw a significant 23 per cent uptick in music technology companies. Part of the growing interest in Summer NAMM from the technology segment can be traced to the debut of TEC Tracks. The new technology-focused educational offerings for recording, live sound and music industry professionals spanned all three days of the show. A highlight was Saturday’s keynote with A3E hosted by Microsoft highlighting The Future of Audio: Harnessing the Power of MI & New Technology.
“The audio component is visibly growing at this show,” says Grant Buro, president of Pro Audio Partners in Savannah, GA. “It’s easier to get around this year, and there are more pro audio vendors. It’s good to see the show growing.”
Wednesday evening’s opening party, Insight, has become a tradition as country music icon Vince Gill and Two Old Hippies’ founder Tom Bedell combine musical performances and insider stories on music making. Nashville’s Tim Akers & The Smoking Section, a band featuring some of the best session musicians in Music City, kept the crowd rocking well into Wednesday night.
Then on Friday night, the music industry gathered to celebrate the world’s best retailers at NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer Awards. With Cody Alan hosting, NAMM awarded seven retailers in ‘Best Of’ categories and crowned the 2015 Dealer of the Year. Musical Innovations of Greenville, SC took home the Dealer of the Year honour. Owner Tracy Leenman graciously shared the credit with her team, “All of the credit for this award goes to my staff, they are truly amazing people.”
Throughout the show the NAMM Acoustic Nation Stage featured acoustic performances by dozens of artists including breakout country star Dustin Lynch, mash-up queen Louisa Wendorff, Tony Lucca of The Voice fame, Sabrina Lentini and more.
The global music products industry gathers next in Anaheim, January 21-24, 2016 for the NAMM Show. NAMM member registration and housing for the 2016 NAMM Show open July 29, 2015. Next year Summer NAMM returns a few weeks earlier to Nashville on June 23-25, 2016.
For more information, go to www.namm.org.