NAMM Slam 2012: Can 92,000 Be Wrong?

Generally NAMM is described by me as a 100,000 square foot Guitar Center with about 70,000 people playing Stairway to Heaven.

Not this year.  Aside form a record breaking 92,000 attendees, NAMM has grown with the times, expanding from mere trade show to conference, power broker meet-n-greet.

Up until last year, had an aspiring artist asked me, “Why should I go to NAMM, I’m not a retailer, or a sound engineer?” I might have had little to disagree with.  But with the addition of HOT Zone and a few minor tweaks in policy, NAMM has turned into far more than a place to see the latest Digital Work Station.

Now, I would say it doesn’t matter what aspect of the music business a person is working with, if you’re not at NAMM, you’re probably not deeply in the game.

NAMM has arrived, and with over 300 new exhibitors (to add to the over 2000 already) and a record attendance level eclipsing the population of several US cities it’s also proving the death of yet another piece of tech-biased propaganda: that the music biz is fading away.

As I recall, last year it was a very, male and very dry trade show.  But for some reason (and I have my theories) the floor was decidedly more co-ed and with  a fair amount of MILFie hotness.   The Tech Awards show and the Ernie Ball Anniversary party attracted some high quality talent and with them their very high-talent entourages.

HOT Zone

But the real unsung hero of the new NAMM was the establishment of HOT Zone, a conference within the trade show that became the epicenter of the best deal making at the show.  This was probably unintended, by founder and organizer David Schwartz, but the HOT Zone lounge on the second floor was the only space to have a quiet conversation in comfortable chairs, away from the hubbub.

Had you happened by, you would have been able to meet industry shakers shaking hands in a causal and very approachable environment.  Alan Parsons was among them, giving a riveting workshop and hanging around after and the next day to shmooz.

My hope is that next year we see a continuation of this theme.  If so, expect the nexus of  deal making to be made more at NAMM than any five music gatherings put together. At about $100, the price gives it my highest marks on my chart ranking Music Business events.


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5 responses to “NAMM Slam 2012: Can 92,000 Be Wrong?”

  1. Mo,
    you hit it on the head, it had a bit of a different ring this year. The session with Stevie Wonder & chat with Alan Parsons & David Pack were just fantastic & of course tons of great info seminars.
    the investment in time was worth it totally.
    later, B

  2. Justin says:

    I’ve been going to NAMM for many years now, and you are right, it’s morphing into a very cool experience these days.

    what is your opinion on MIDEM? and is it important to go there? or can NAMM be a similar experience? does North America have something that compares to the deal-making that happens at MIDEM (france)?

  3. Jason Miles says:

    I was at NAMM 2012. yes an incredible amount of people were there. The one thing I noticed was that the number of people from,artists,reps and others that were looking for jobs and work was way more than I could have ever expected. So many people taht were gainfully employed in the music world are now without jobs and I could see the strain on their faces and vibes. There may have been alot of people there but the reality is (to me) is that there is not a lot of money in the music world,especially that of recorded music-There are opportunities but to turn it into real money is a daunting task in 2012. This of course is just my opinion. I can go back and say there was a time when I didn’t know anybody who wasn’t making a living in this business.Just because Namm had alot of people there doesn’t mean the business is thriving
    Peace, Jason

    • Moses Avalon says:

      Jason, you’re really bumming my mellow.

      It’s too bad you missed my lecture, I used real facts to show that in most cases, at least at the majors in the A&R department, the number of jobs since 2008 is +1. Meaning that they hired one more person than they fired for these positions. I think you many not be talking to the new people with jobs b/c you do not know who they are. Conclusion: you’re getting old.


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