|Reuniting Our Global Community
At 5 pm on Sunday, January 19, 2020, I heard the P.A. announcing the close of The NAMM Show, feeling the usual mix of euphoria and exhaustion that I imagine many show attendees know all too well. That moment marked the conclusion of the largest and arguably most successful gathering for the association, our members and the global industry in NAMM’s 120-year history. Little did I know that one era was ending, and a new epoch was about to begin.
We had indeed arrived at the crossroads.
Years of tectonic pressures had been building in the industry: consolidation, distribution changes, globalization, e-commerce and evolving go-to-market strategies, among many others. The change was coming, and fast. Perhaps anything could have been the spark that set off this chain reaction—an economic crisis, a war. But it ended up being maybe the least likely cause of all: a virus.
The pandemic created shock waves that still reverberate around the globe, impacting every member. We are experiencing an event that has not happened in most of our lifetimes, although it’s happened many times before in history. Leaving one epoch and transitioning into the next is never smooth or easy; some things change forever, while other things we liked best about the old epoch often remain—like Les Paul’s rudimentary four-track recording technology being improved 100X as his guitar design remains a top seller. Our industry will continue to evolve, changing many things for the better while keeping the best traditions of the previous era.
And at The 2022 NAMM Show, transformation and tradition will live side by side. You’ll see abundant changes, starting with its new date in June. For industry veterans like me, the void of not frantically planning for NAMM over the holiday season took some getting used to. With a focus on the welfare of all our attendees the show floor and NAMM Campus will look different too, utilizing the best practices for live events and following all government health and safety guidelines. The biggest changes will, as always, be represented by the creativity of our exhibitors. Many are going to have two and a half years of pent-up innovations to share and will likely reimagine their exhibits as branding opportunities and stages for content creation that will be used year-round. They will be looking at ROE—return on experience—as well as ROI in building their brands for in-person attendees and for our global virtual audience through NAMM Show+, the show’s new digital extension.
What will remain the same is our commitment to providing the stable, reliable platform for our global industry to meet in a productive and safe environment. Buyers, distributors, media, artists, educators and influencers will be seeking out new products and services. And perhaps equally important, we will again provide world-class industry education and training for every professional community, along with the “only at a NAMM Show” opportunities for networking, benchmarking, talent acquisition, intelligence gathering and seeing old friends and colleagues.
Like music itself, our industry is diverse—made up of thousands of NAMM members, each making decisions every day on what’s best for their customers and their businesses.
That nimbleness will be vital because I believe that as much as the world has changed since January 2020, we are not yet through this big economic cycle. There’s still much change ahead, and doing everything you can to remain informed and make better decisions is critical.
They say fortune favors the bold. With the risks and opportunities that lie ahead, attending The NAMM Show in June might just be the best investment you could make.