Do you plan on going to the next NAMM show? Are you a recording artist, an audio engineer, a podcaster?

Anyone interested in music, audio, and any kind of recording should familiarize themselves with the National Association of Music Merchants, and the NAMM show they put on every year.


Well, the NAMM show is a huge gathering of audiophiles and industry experts from across the spectrum, and can help you out with your art, your skills, and your career.

But where to start?

What Does NAMM Do?

The National Association of Music Merchants dates back all the way to 1901, and has the stated goal of improving music and audio technology on every spectrum.

Here’s their mission statement, from their very own website: “To strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music.”

I think any artist or audio aficionado can see the benefit of a strong audio tech industry, and fostering a love of music for kids and adult the world over. They also support (and run) charities that help fund music education and advocacy groups.

Every year, they throw a convention, the NAMM show, to get together like-minded individuals to showcase new products, innovators, and discuss the state of the industry.

But how can one person make squeeze the most out of the NAMM show for themselves?

NAMM 100th: A century of service to the music products industry
  • Hardcover Book
  • Levey, Jane Freundel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Top 4 Ways to Make NAMM Work for You

1 – Membership Has Its Privileges

Before anything else, you’re going to consider a NAMM membership. Fill out a short application – found on their website – pay the small fee, and bam, no fuss, no muss. If you don’t want to do it online you can also join the day of a NAMM show, no prep work needed.

With two shows a year (summer and winter), you’re NAMM membership is going to hook you up with regular benefits. While the free membership breakfast isn’t something to sneeze at, the fact is, there are huge benefits for you and your business to joining NAMM.

NAMM negotiates directly with vendors and service companies, and because of their weight, you’ll reap the rewards of their mass purchasing power. That means you’ll be able to get the big-business discounts on supported products and services without needing to run a big business.

NAMM Membership

Image via NAMM

Combine that with member-only education programs, access to the NAMM resource library, and more, a membership to NAMM can potentially open a few doors for any aspiring audio adept.

2 – Feast on the Breakfast Session

A NAMM show staple, the Breakfast Session is kind of like a “keynote address” for the music and audio products industry.

CEOs and bigwigs of huge music product companies give speeches and talk about the state of the industry. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to network with retailers, recording studios, engineers, and up-and-coming names in the field.

3 – Network Network Network

Speaking of networking: you have to network.

Half the reason people go to conventions is to make friends, make contacts, and create a vast web of people who can all aid each other.

Did you know that at NAMM 2017, there were over 100,000 attendees and nearly 2,000 exhibitors on the show floor?

That’s a mid-sized town of people who all share the same interests, skills, and goals. If you can’t meet a few potential allies here, you won’t be able to meet them anywhere.

Attend lunches, conferences, the aforementioned Breakfast Session. If a few retailers are grabbing a drink afterword, go with them. Visit the exhibitor booths of your favorite products and services and introduce yourself – a light, fun conversation will do you more good than a hundred hours spent shopping for deals for your recording studio.

4 – Don’t Get Overwhelmed, and Have a Little Fun

Sure, all this talk of equipment and retailers and networking can be a hoot, but you have to de-stress and enjoy the show every now and again.

the NAMM show

Image via Play Drums

One of the coolest things about the NAMM shows are the performances.

That’s right – there are dozens of concerts that take place on the side stages and ball rooms, many of them from young artists who’ve been playing since they were kids – which is exactly the kind of atmosphere we want for the future of music.

Happy hunting!

Hopefully, we’ll see you rocking along at a concert, bopping your head, throwing your arms up and shouting “WOO NAMM CONFERENCE USA.” Or you can just quietly enjoy the performance, your call of course.

Use Every Tool at Your Disposal

What separates the amateur from the professional? Time. Dedication. Help. Luck. A conference like the NAMM Show can’t do anything for that last one, but it can aid you in the first three, and 3 out of 4 is not bad.

Whether you’ve owned a recording studio for fifty years or a band trying to get the best bang for your buck on production equipment, an organization like NAMM can help not only you, but future generations of musicians and professionals to come.

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