From networking with current vendors and scoping out new brands to learning at NAMM U sessions and taking in the Nashville nightlife, the music industry stayed busy during a fun and productive three days in Nashville for Summer NAMM. The National Association of Music Merchant’s (NAMM) event held July 12-14 is the summer-timed compliment to January’s The NAMM Show timed to line up with product releases for the holiday buying season.
Beyond the thousands of music instrument and product showings at Summer NAMM, the show provides Members with dozens of complimentary professional development programs, the Top 100 Dealer Awards and an opportunity to hear live music nearly around the clock while in Music City.
“We’re grateful to the Members who invested their time and money to be participate in Summer NAMM,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “In spite of the continuing economic challenges, these folks are not sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to get better, but instead seizing the opportunity to increase their competitive advantage as we head into the fall and holiday selling season.”
Summer NAMM saw more retail owners, buyers and employees doing business at the show. The number of retail buyers increased a robust 20% in 2012 over 2011.
“This show is incredible. I wouldn’t miss it. It’s a great opportunity to do business and see friends,” said Chuck Surack, president and founder of Sweetwater Sound. “There are lots of new vendors and products here that I wasn’t aware of, lots of new things that I wouldn’t have seen if I hadn’t been here. This is the time to not only foster relationships with current vendors, but also with fellowmusic store owners.”
Energy and growth was mirrored on the manufacturing side with a 9% increase in exhibitors from 2011 to 2012. It was made up in part by many new and returning brands. In total, 372 exhibitors representing many more brands shared new products with buyers from around the world at Summer NAMM.
“Taylor Guitars attends Summer NAMM to thank our dealers for their support in the first half of theyear, to see east coast retailers, who may not always make it to Anaheim and finally, it’s a wonderful reason to visit the great city of Nashville,” said Mike “Monte” Montefusco, director of sales at Taylor Guitars based in El Cajon, CA. “We’re seeing our existing dealer base and a lot of perspective new dealers who are interested in the Taylor line. The pace here in Nashville lends to spending more one-on-one time with perspective dealers.”
Some of the positive energy found at the show can be attributed to the 75 new-to-Summer NAMM exhibitors and another 75 brands returning to Summer NAMM after a break.
An insurgence of new brands at the show allowed retailers to discover new products in time for the holiday season. “The ability at Summer NAMM to sit down and have a conversation is very beneficial. We take this opportunity to look at new products and explore possible future business with brands that we haven’t worked with before,” said Lori Supine, president ofSenseney Music in Wichita, Kansas and 2011 Dealer of the Year.
The smaller stage NAMM hosts in Nashville, also gives new brands to grab more of the spotlight. First time Summer NAMM exhibitor Jim McGillivary, founder ofFour Force who makes the EM1 lightweight amp, and 2012 Summer NAMM ‘Best of Show’ winner said, “This summer show is the best for us. It’s a time to meet local music store owners and buyers in a very music friendly city.”
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND
While Summer NAMM is officially only a three-day event, over 100 retailers arrived in Music City a day early for NAMM’s inaugural Retail Boot Camp. Bob Negen, a retail expert led a all day educational session with practical business planning, marketing and other tangible business advice tailored specifically for independent music instrument and product dealers.
Tracy Leenman, owner of Musical Innovations in Greenville, South Carolina, who attended the boot camp said, “I thought it was very well-organized and the information applies to everyone sitting in the room—big business, small business, school business, combo business. It’s very hands-on, very action-oriented, very directed toward going home and making a difference.”
The more relaxed pace of the summer-timed event lends to educational opportunities. Each morning opened with a NAMM U Breakfast session with guests including Chip Averwater of Amro Music and author of “Retail Truths,” Joe Calloway, author of “Becoming a Category of One,” and the ‘Best in Show’ awards presented by Music Inc.
TOP 100 DEALERS
The Top 100 Dealer awards celebrated the best in music stores on Friday, July 13th during Summer NAMM. Alto Music won ‘Dealer of the Year,’ while other retailers took home wins in ‘Best of’ categories.
A panel of impartial, expert judges selected the Top 100 dealers using a numeric rating based on five main criteria. Then, the panel scored retailers’ submissions for awards in ten other specific ‘Best of’ categories.
“The retailers in this room are the backbone of the industry,” said Jon Haber, owner of Alto Music based in Middletown, NY. “We’re cultivating all of the future customers. Whether now a pro audio, lighting guy or other person connected to music, they probably got their start getting juiced on a guitar at a local music store.”
NAMM MEMBERS LOVE MUSIC CITY
When NAMM returns to Nashville, July 11-13, 2012 the show will have a new home, the state-of-the-art convention center, Music City Center. Music City Center sits just south of Broadway on a 16-acre site adjacent toboth the Bridgestone Arena and the Country Music Hall of Fame and steps from the Ryman Auditorium and Broadway honky tonks where thousands of musical careers have launched.
“I love Nashville – this is a fantastic city!” said Mark Farrell, director of sales for Feeltune in Nimes, France. “I heard great things about the new center. I was talking to a Nashville native and he said it’s like five times the size of this and it’s going to be a sight to behold apparently.”
The Silver Level LEED certified building measures 1.2 million square feet, featuring a 350,000 square foot exhibit hall, a 57,000 grand ballroom and 1,800 parking spaces. A 360,000 gallon retention tank will collect rainwater from the four acre ‘green’ roof to be used for irrigation and to flush the building’s hundreds of toilets.
Before NAMM returns to Music City, The NAMM Show stages in Anaheim, California on January 24-27, 2013. Badge registration for The NAMM Show opens on September 19, 2012. Find more details at http://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2013.