Sunday, July 21, 2013
Nashville's 'Summer NAMM' Praised as Best and Largest in Five Years
—A new, state-of-the-art venue, more brands and major buying power built to a lively crescendo as the music product industry converged in Nashville for the largest Summer NAMM in five years.
NAMM members celebrated the move to Nashville’s Music City Center conducting brisk business, but also taking in the many opportunities to learn from peers and industry icons, while networking with the leaders of the global music product world.
“This year’s Summer NAMM reminded me of some of the past Nashville shows a decade ago when companies were really excited about growth and opportunity,” said NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. “We’re grateful to our members who came to exhibit, stock up for the fall and holiday selling season and attend the increased educational and networking sessions that NAMM produced.”
Held July 11 – 13, NAMM’s Nashville-based event took advantage of the new venue’s room to grow by increasing in exhibit square footage by 25 percent over 2012. In total, there were 422 exhibiting companies, representing more than 1150 brands, which represented a 12 percent increase over the previous year. Part of the new growth can be attributed to the 157 first-time exhibiting companies and many returning brands, some after many years off.
Big buying power met the increase in brands with the number of retail businesses rising more than 26 percent from the previous year. In total, 11,498 people registered for the show, not including "Music Industry Day", a slight increase over 2012. Retailers in the exhibit hall were focused on finding the right products and accessories to fuel the all-important 4th quarter and holiday season.
"We're here shopping fun, colorful, unique and price point items that will make great holiday gifts, while also thinking about promotions to sell what we are buying, which I wasn't doing last year," said Gayle Beacock, co-owner of Beacock Music Company Inc. in Vancouver, Wash., who was named the 2013 Dealer of the Year during Summer NAMM. "I'm much more focused this year, in part thanks to the opening morning "Retail Summit", which zeroed in on a very specific topic, holiday, and opened my mind to opportunities that I may have missed in past seasons.”
In addition to holiday planning, retailers tapped into school band and orchestra brands that returned after a hiatus including Cannonball and BG Franck Bichon to stock up for back-to-school.
“We're about to open a new store making this the perfect time to build inventory for it, while also buying for back-to-school,” said Scott Summerhays, president of Summerhays Music Center in Utah.
Both the quality of buyers and the number of retailers that exhibitors hadn’t met before surpassed many exhibitors’ expectations.
“The bonus for us was that we got to meet dealers who don’t go to the NAMM Show in Anaheim,” said Sheryl Laukat, CEO of Cannonball Musical Instruments. “They are very important to us, and it was great to sit down, see their faces and really connect. And we may have picked up some new dealers; it’s looking really good.”
Music City Center Jams
Summer NAMM’s new digs, the Music City Center, proved a natural fit. The refrain repeated by retailers and brands alike played clearly – Music City Center might have been tailor-made for Summer NAMM. Carolina Bridges of Deering Banjos noted MCC’s delightful sound qualities.
“The acoustics in here are perfect for people to hear our instruments,” she said.
While Scott Thompson, vice president of sales for The Music Link noted the aesthetics, “The best thing about the new Center is the natural light, which makes people happy and makes our guitars and mandolins look just beautiful.”
Educational Opportunities Abound
Professional development focused in on very specific, easily applicable ideas across the spectrum of educational events such as "Retail Boot Camp", the "Retail Summit" and the "Idea Center" sessions.
"The sessions featured useful, practical knowledge that you can put right to work,” said Whitney Brown-Grisaffi, president of Ted Brown Music Co. in Washington.
“The education sessions were fantastic. Learning from peers is always the best way to learn,” agreed Scott Summerhays.
NAMM at Night
NAMM didn’t end at show close each day. A new series of first-class evening events brought the industry together for inspiration, networking and good times. They kicked off with a tribute to Jimi Hendrix’ Nashville years to warm-up the crowd on Wednesday night.
“The gatherings that NAMM hosts are a nice touch,” said Ron Partain of Ron’s World of Music in Alabama. “It’s good, as a member, to feel appreciated.”
‘Insight,’ hosted by Vince Gill and Tom Bedell on the first night of the show, brought together the music products industry’s most-iconic names for a truly unique free-wheeling evening covering everything from lessons learned from the guests’ fathers to what the leaders would do if they were king for a day and their first concert.
"It was really interesting to hear their insights, background stories from the icons of the industry,” said Amy Braswell, co-owner of Capo’s Music Store in Virginia. “The points that they were making about being different, innovating and being unique were inspiring.”
“The new convention center is incredible and with all the amazing events and sessions, it was truly a can't miss event that people will be talking about for years," said Ron Manus, CEO of Alfred Music. "So many 'You had to see it' moments, like seeing the industry icons on stage together sharing stories at Insight. The show had a great campus feel making the show buzz with energy. We had great meetings with our old friends, made some new friends and opened new accounts. Summer NAMM is BACK!"
Honoring NAMM’s Top 100 Retailers has become one of the most-anticipated facets of NAMM’s summer show. Beacock Music Co. was honored as the "Dealer of the Year" at a filled-to-capacity awards event July 12.
With the positive buzz coming from dealers as well as exhibitors, NAMM members are anticipating a viable second half of 2013 and looking toward 2014 with heightened expectations of an industry showing encouraging vibrancy. Many are laying plans for future NAMM shows already.
“This is my first show. It’s crazy!” said Ronald Irizarry of ARJ Percussion. “My only regret? I wish I had gotten a bigger booth.”