Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What is NAMM?

What is NAMM?

NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) proudly represents the industry that brings the gift of music into people's lives. NAMM is the not-for-profit trade association that unifies, leads and strengthens the $17 billion global musical instruments and products industry. NAMM's trade shows, activities and programs are designed to promote music making to people of all ages.

What started in May of 1901 as a small, grassroots organization of 52 founding Members has since blossomed into an international association representing more than 9,000 retailers, manufacturers, distributors and reps of musical instruments and products from more than 85 countries.

The NAMM Show is considered the largest music products trade show in the world. It is held every January in Anaheim, California, USA at the Anaheim Convention Center. The January 2008 show had 1,560 exhibitors and a record-breaking 88,100 attendees. The NAMM Show is not open to the general public, only to members of the music trade.

The acronym NAMM originally stood for the National Association of Music Merchants, but has evolved from a national entity representing the interests of music products retailers to an international association including both commercial, retail members and affiliates. Therefore, the long form of the name is no longer used, and it is simply known as NAMM, the International Music Products Association.

Each Winter NAMM Show is heavily covered by the music-industry press. Thousands of new-product introductions and demonstrations are made at Winter NAMM, making attendance by trade journalists a necessity. NAMM also produces a show directory and a daily news magazine called Upbeat, for distribution at the convention center and at local hotels.

Among music-trade attendees, the NAMM Show is an exhausting ritual. The Anaheim Convention Center is one of the world's largest, and NAMM (since 2007) completely fills all the available exhibit space, necessitating miles of walking to cover all the exhibits. NAMM is also colloquially called "the world's loudest trade show". Despite severe regulations on the permissible noise level, sound level meters carried by NAMM personnel routinely exceed the 85 dBA maximum throughout most of the main exhibit hall, simply from the constant background noise.

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