NAMM Show Winter 2010
January 18, 2010
Four days of meet & greet, show & tell, hurry up & wait. Foot massages, throat lozenges, and Ibuprofen are popular items. Constant ambient noise levels of 90 dB (as confirmed by an officer of the Noise Police), exceeded by frequent spikes of demos and announcements, make for long and tiring days. But nobody is complaining—this show is an engine that powers the music industry; being there is simply a must, and it was gratifying to see and hear many signs of recovery, borne out by new products, emerging companies, and a general spirit of "let's get this show on the road".
So why are thousands upon thousands flocking to Anaheim near Los Angeles to stroll the four floors of the huge convention center? Those lucky enough to have a claim, valid or otherwise, to get a coveted badge (ID checks at the entrances are stringent!) can see and hear pretty much the full range of musical and music-related equipment the world has to offer, from computer software and hardware to traditional instruments, from show equipment and karaoke gear to books, scores, and music marketing tools.
At its heart the NAMM show still is a platform for music-store owners to meet manufacturers and their distributors, to learn about new products, to do deals and to place orders. But as you look up and down the aisles you see not just business-minded individuals going about their trade; at any given moment you might be forgiven for thinking that you're attending a heavy-metal gathering, or it might look like punk and mohawk fashions rule. Mingling with the visitors in suits are guys and gals who have other ideas about taste and fashion, some displaying much of this and that of their bodies, not always remaining within the boundaries of good taste...the Romans had it right when they said "de gustibus non disputandum" (there's no point in debating matters of taste).
A huge attraction are the many celebrities making appearances at manufacturers' displays. Long lines snake around the aisles before such scheduled events, and happy fans leave with a smile and an autograph. How did they get a badge in the first place? Oh for the mystery of the well-connected...
Here's Chantelle Barry, all the way from Australia, performing at the Sennheiser exhibit.
We'll bring you our show report in the magazine. For much early coverage of gear on display and products being announced read my colleague Mike Metlay's four daily NAMM blogs.
The Los Angeles Unified School District sent a marching band to open the show on Saturday, and after the kids played their well-rehearsed show, they were admitted to the halls. The enthusiasm of the kids in the candy store was infectious—they showed so much joy in trying out instruments, real instruments!
Two different booths, two similarly mindblowing drumming performances without there being a drum kit in sight: The Korg wavedrum in action behind guitarist Peter Stroud's band (at the Korg booth—I didn't get the player's name), and the amazing David "Fingers" Haynes playing a Korg Nanopad at the Presonus booth.
I saw a product that doesn't really fit the profile of gear we'd review in RECORDING, but it's so cool, I want to mention it here in my blog: Muzundrum, a board game that is similar to Scrabble, but uses musical notes to form scales and chords where Scrabble uses letters to form words. Check it out at www.muzundrum.com.
On hand to help us cover the show were RECORDING contributors Rick Barrio Dill, Bob Emmet, Eric Ferguson, Frank Gryner, Greg Hurley, Mike Rivers, Michael C. Ross, John Rossi, and Paul Vnuk—thank you gentlemen!
Yours truly was also delighted to see many other friends and acquaintances come to our booth. Some came to mull over ideas for articles that you will read over the next many months—there is a lot to be said for exchanging ideas face to face!
Good friend and publicist Shelli Andranigian arrived while Mike Julian, trombonist, arranger, producer, and teacher of audio classes, also happened to drop by—reminding me of our 29-year friendship.
How time flies...