The NAMM Convention National Association Of Music Merchants blew into Anaheim, California from January 19-22. The event brings together retailers, store owners, musicians and devotees in a mad cacophony of drum kits being beaten, guitars being strummed, while every new and ultra-cool gizmo, gadget and geegaw is unveiled by literally thousands of exhibitors from around the world. Retailers The annual trade show brings retailers and manufacturers face-to-face so the mom and pop guitar shop in Omaha can stock up on Fender Stratocasters for the coming year.
Now in its 110th year, NAMM is the longest-running musical instruments trade show in the United States and the 2012 convention broke yet another record. When all the dust had settled, there were 95,709 registered attendees, a six percent increase over 2011's totals and the largest attendance number in the association's century-plus history. International registration had increased by 15 percent since last year to 11,981. There were 1,441 exhibitors, which included 236 newbies.
A look through the 2012 Show Directory revealed nearly 200 exhibitors including all the guitar companies from Fender, Gibson and Ibanez to Dean, Paul Reed Smith and Schecter. The amp makers were all in attendance including Matchless, Marshall, Diezel, Bogner and Budda. There were dozens of European and Asian boutique drum companies along with stalwarts like DW, Ludwig and Tama. The show's theme was "Make It Count" and accordingly there were was major focus on how to make music-related apps and technology products easier to use for the consumer.
All the manufacturers had their endorsees out in full force. A walk through one of the main halls at the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday found you running into Joe Satriani at the Marshall booth as well as everyone from Bernard Purdie, Chad Smith, Doug Aldrick, Mikael Akerfeldt, Steve Smith, Synyster Gates and Ray Luzier running around, shaking hands and hawking wares.
The noise was deafening, the foot traffic insane and the energy unbridled. It was highly encouraging to see that the love for making music has only grown stronger over the years and that was represented by hundreds and hundreds of exhibitors previewing everything from guitar picks and drum sticks to the hippest software. The 2012 NAMM Show was a positive indication that the pursuit of rock stardom still burns in every young kid who first picks up a guitar and plugs it into an ampor a Plug-In. And the idea that somebody has to be there to sell them the strings, tubes, speakers, machine heads, pickups, fuzz boxes, cables, microphones, and recording devices they'll need down the road.
Photo credits: Mick Rosen
Report by Steven Rosen