Today, NAMM released a statement from President and CEO Joe Lamond. The statement reads as follows:
We’ve reached the one-month milestone of government-ordered shutdowns, creating unbelievable hardship for so many. In spite of the challenges, seeing how our members have responded has been beyond inspiring. We’ve witnessed manufacturers retooling to make personal protective equipment, retailers moving their lesson programs and showrooms online, creative band directors and teachers keeping school music programs alive using NAMM member technologies, and of course, the media’s daily coverage of the fundamental role that music is playing in uniting us in our isolated and quarantined reality. One could say that music’s time has truly come. The future remains unpredictable, but here are things we’re doing right now to keep us all moving forward.
Tools and Strategies for Financial Relief
The work continues to strengthen our members’ businesses. NAMM’s lobbying efforts are focused on federal and state small business relief efforts, and to date, we’ve seen countless NAMM members approved for the Paycheck Protection Program. Currently, with the first tranche exhausted, we are working with our partners and other business groups to get Congress to approve more funding. Please use the resources at namm.org as your trusted source for instructional webinars and the latest news regarding funding and rules for applying. We are updating daily, as the news continues to rapidly change.
The NAMM professional development team has created a series of important online sessions, highlighting vital strategies for selling to and taking care of customers in this new world. Our next session will be held tomorrow morning, so please register now before seats fill up. NAMM U Online has also been experiencing higher page views, as many have had the time to go back and work on their businesses for the eventual reopening to the public. NAMM members are taking advantage of each moment to come back stronger than ever.
The speed at which individual and group music instruction has moved online has been nothing short of extraordinary. The tools and technologies that NAMM members have created have been utilized by teachers everywhere, providing vital links to our students while keeping much-needed business activity going. An additional and perhaps unintended result has been the rise of virtual online concerts and live songwriter showcases. (Leave it to our artists to continually push new boundaries!) And depending on “social distancing” rules going forward, I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.
Some Historical Perspective
An important part of joining the NAMM Board of Directors is an orientation that includes a historical look at the association’s 120-year history. That includes a video highlighting important moments, including the periods of the Great Depression and WWII. In the video, there are black-and-white scenes of heartbreaking unemployment, business bankruptcies and food lines—a couple of data points for perspective, from 1928 to 1932, the number of piano manufacturers fell by 70%, while the number of pianos brought to market dropped by 86%. And total industry sales during that same period fell by a jaw-dropping 93%. Innovation took the industry in new directions though, with the development of the spinet piano in 1935, which helped revive piano sales across the board, as well as the introduction of electronic instruments, ushering in an entirely new product segment and launching the industry into an expansion that continued to this day.
Looking at those old photos and videos, no one could ever have imagined that we might find ourselves there again, yet in many ways, here we are. My feeling is that it seems like each generation looks at the arc of progress and feels a little superior, perhaps thinking, “Ah, those poor folks. Look what they had to live through.” But we can learn a lot from the past. Industry leaders of that period looked straight into the eye of the tiger and overcame every obstacle, just as we need to do now. Maybe that is the true measure of courage.
NAMM President and CEO
P.S. Final Thought
As a drummer, I tend to see the world through rhythm. One thing that is getting clearer by the day is that the world will never go back to the way it was. There is a new and different rhythm; some have already got the new beat and are thriving while others are just beginning to hear it and are adjusting their businesses accordingly. And yet, some are still playing the old beat and are sounding increasingly out of sync. We see it here too—as an association, we help people associate. What that might look like in the future could be very different. But as different (and exciting!) as the future might be, you can be assured that NAMM will be here to serve you and your business. I’m heartened by the fact that one of the unexpected results of the industry turmoil of the WWII period was that The 1946 NAMM Show smashed all previous records as the industry celebrated its new beginning with optimism for the future!