NAMM 2014 – an overview
January 2014, at the NAMM 2014 show, the atmosphere was different from other conferences, it is a rare mix of business, products, art & innovation and a genuine positive energy for the merger of these which is music and the performance of music. Most shows are a diverse ecosystem with every niche having its own world, and the only interaction with the whole chain is talking on the exchange to both the being the proovider to the next level up and the receiver for the next step below. This show is different, as all the members have a common bond and theme - the love of music. This makes the show very much a family affair - everyone does not always get along, and there is competition amongst the members, but there is a binding point - the music.
The show, which is under the direction of NAMM President Joe Lamond, had almost 100,000 attendees as a trade only event. In addition to the meeting areas, expo space, private demo areas, the show had 5 major stages for performance which were busy from 9am to 1am everyday of the show. These supplement the in-booth performance areas and off-site venues.
The main stage outside was configured with multiple cameras (traditional professional video/TV cameras and large screens and a number of GoPro cameras covering the acts. The GoPro cameras were configured and enabled by MXL (a division of Marshall Electronics) for the show to be used as streaming media devices. A couple of the highlights on this main stage included the opening night concert with headliner Johnny Lang and the John Lennon Bus concert featuring Sheila E.
The show had the traditional diversity covered by some of its major exhibitors / sponsors like Peavey, Yamaha, Gibson, and Selmer. These range from woodwind & brass instruments, stage and marching percussion, orchestral instruments (both standard and electronic/silent), upright & grand pianos, electronic pianos & keyboards, full digital pianos/clavinovas, guitars/Amplifiers and studio recording / performance mixing equipment as could be seen in the Yamaha booth alone.
A big section of this years show was the growth in electronic sampling & models, along with portable (tablet and laptop based) recording and performance platform software. This software is allowing a growth in the DJ and EMD markets. The software was pervasive through the show and was anchored by alliances with the standards groups such as the MIDI organization and folks working on the IEEE AVB spec. Exhibitors like Casio were showing new entry level DJ products to go along with thier professional keyboard products.
Now an integrated part of the conference is the TEC Awards. This event, hosted in 2014 by EMD artist and composer BT, features recognition of the technology that makes the music production possible - studio equipment, microphones, mixers, studio design and the musicial results and performers. This year the Hall of Fame recognition was given to Wrecking Crew Drummer Hal Blaine who helped define the recorded music scene in the 60's & 70's. The Les Paul Award was given to Todd Rundgren for his lifetime contribution to performance, composition and studio production in the music industry.
Photos of my time at the show with BT, Casio, Joe Lamond, Todd Rundgren and the folks in the Peavey booth are in my gallery page from the show at http://mandetech.com/gallery/index.php/MET-Hippo-at-NAMM-2014.