Last month I was privileged to attend the National Association of Music Merchants or NAMM. For those of us that have music coursing through our veins (music geeks), there is no greater event than NAMM. NAMM brings together, through this massive trade show, professionals from all walks of life. Retailers, consumers, and manufactures come together to share the newest innovations in all things music: recording, tech, stage, sound, lighting, and instruments.
Walking around NAMM can be exciting, overwhelming, and exhausting. All the industry leaders are there: Yamaha, Roland, Taylor, Gibson, Fender, Steinway. Many smaller companies were there too: Schumann Pianos, Breedlove Guitars, and many, many more. If you attend NAMM, be sure to wear your Fitbit, because it is held at the Anaheim Convention Center and you will walk through every floor and every room in the convention center, continuously being amazed by all the latest tech and gadgets the industry has to offer. My buddy walked 11 miles one day. (Note to self: bring comfortable shoes)
Walking around NAMM, you never know who you will see. NAMM is often frequented by celebrities in the business. This year people swore they saw Alice Cooper, Jimmy Buffett, and Lin-Manuel Miranda among others.
One of my favorite highlights from this year’s NAMM, was Hollywood U2 doing a concert on the third floor balcony. I happened to be walking past when security escorted them onto the balcony and they started their playlist. I could tell immediately that they were not the real U2, but even so, they were tremendous performers. For days after, everyone swore that Bono and U2 made a surprise appearance at NAMM. Retailers and consumers alike were walking around like giddy school children with thoughts of their celebrity encounter.
I stopped by the Roland booth were they displayed all kinds of new digital pianos and products. Here I noticed a digital accordion and convinced (it didn’t take much convincing) one of the Roland gals to play it for us- remember I told you I was a music geek. I know an accordion is not on everyone’s list (or maybe anyone’s list) of “wow” moments, but I loved it. That is what makes NAMM so amazing. Whether you are into pianos, guitars, electronics, or whatever other instruments, it is like a playground for music boys and girls who never grow up.
Friday night at NAMM, during Yamaha’s All Star Concert event, Melissa Etheridge and Michael McDonald played a duet of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” which was sensational. If seeing a duet performance by Michael McDonald and Melissa Etheridge doesn’t get you just a little excited, I am guessing you didn’t make it this far into this article about NAMM anyway. Some performers that were my personal favorites were comedian Demetri Martin, and one of my all-time favorite singer-songwriters, Jackson Browne.
To wrap it up, if you ever get the change to go to NAMM, do it. Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to be in awe of what the music industry has to offer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and sample products, that is why all of us are there. NAMM 2018 was fantastic as always. Till next year…