Sittin’ Pretty in ‘Music City:’ Summer NAMM 2017 Keeps Up Momentum

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Show Report
• Created: August 8, 2017

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Two things stand out in my mind from this year’s Summer NAMM,” says NAMM president and CEO, Joe Lamond.

“The dealers I spoke with were so incredibly earnest about improving their businesses, the NAMM U and TEC Track sessions were packed all three days. And secondly, there were a large number of young and up-and-coming dealers – very exciting. They expressed to me how much they appreciated being to meet with their current and new venders, often meeting with the leaders of these companies themselves, something that might be difficult to do in the hustle and bustle of Winter NAMM. I imagine these relations will prove beneficial to our exhibiting members for many years

to come.”

The 2017 Summer NAMM Show welcomed a number of buyers, exhibitors, artists, industry veterans, and music professionals at Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee from July 13-15. 14,284 industry members attended, representing a 2% increase from 2016. Significantly, international attendees accounted for a growth of 14% over 2016, and nearly 28% growth over 2015.

This year’s gathering welcomed a slight increase of 1% buying firms to the show; an increase attributed to multi-line carriers from the U.S. and Europe, and large ecommerce and click and mortar warehouse retailers populating the show floor with buying power.

The 1,650 brands fielded by 505 total exhibitors this July were comparable to 2016’s figures, but represent a 2% uptick when compared to 2015.

More than 60 professional development sessions, designed to enhance skills and businesses across the industry, were presented by NAMM U and TEC Tracks. Hot topics included innovative store design, video marketing secrets, and differentiating your lesson program, as well as a variety of technology focused sessions including the art of music production, audio for VR and live sound essentials.

The show kicked off Thursday morning with a session from futurist and “Retail Prophet” Doug Stephens in a session titled “The Retail Store of the Future.” In the NAMM U Breakfast Session, Stephens shared his thoughts on what awaits retail and how the music products industry can begin to chart the future now. Friday’s Breakfast Session welcomed customer experience expert Doug Fleener as he presented “The Connected Consumer: Customer

Experience in an Online World.” Fleener offered best practices for creating a valued customer experience in-store and online.

Friday evening gathered the industry to honor their peers in the Top 100 Dealer awards. Now in its seventh year, the Top 100 applaud the excellence and innovation found in music products retailing and this year, recognized A&G Central Music with the prestigious “Dealer of the Year” award. The event was hosted by Country Music Television personality Cody Alan and featured music from Tim Akers and The Smoking Section featuring “American

Idol” finalist, Melinda Doolittle.

The 2018 NAMM Show will take place January 25-28 in Anaheim. The NAMM Show campus will be expanded and reimagined with the addition of 100,000 square-foot building, new alliances with ESTA, AES and others, new exhibitors in the lighting, live sound and event technologies areas, as well as new networking opportunities and events, such as the Parnelli Awards, designed to serve the crossroads of the industry.

Voices from the Show Floor

“Well, Blackstar was in a much larger booth this year compared to last year when we were just by ourselves. Because this year Korg USA had the bigger booth with the other brands under the KORGUSA umbrella which brought more traffic for Blackstar and our fellow brands.

“Overall, this year’s show felt great and I think the summer show in Nashville is building. I feel it’s an important way for companies to get closer to dealers and end- users in a more relaxed and cool setting – after all, it’s Nashville!”

Loren Molinare

Blackstar Product Manager

Artist Relations


“The show was great, with nice feedbacks from customers and the industry overall has a good impression of Relish. We got some new sales reps and sold a few guitars, compared to [Winter] NAMM. The dealers network was very low and [there were] not so many visitors from there. I guess many dealers focus [more] on the Winter NAMM show. The show was great branding-wise for us.

Silvan Küng

Founder & President

Relish Guitars Switzerland


“The show was one of the busiest Summer NAMM shows on record for BOSS in terms of new product offerings. With more than ten new BOSS products unveiled this summer, the level of excitement in the booth was very high for us, and it’s always great to see people experiencing our new gear in person for the first time. The Compact Pedal 40th Anniversary Box Set was a crowd pleaser – BOSS has never offered a pedal box set or a re-issue, so it was an exciting first for us. The Katana-Mini was also a standout, as were all of the new BOSS products, but the common comment about the Katana-Mini was that, despite it being a mini amp, it could be mic’ed and used on stage because the tone was that good. We were of course delighted to hear this.”

Jay Wanamaker

President and CEO North America

Roland Corporation


“The Summer NAMM show was a great success for the Floyd Rose Audio Headphones. We made great contacts with some very large dealers and distributors. The floor traffic was strong and we busy throughout the show. Summer NAMM needs to bring back some of the pro audio and lighting companies to increase the awareness, dealer, and sales rep presence.

“My feet are aching – wish the aisles were foam padded under the carpets!”

Alan Cabasso


Floyd Rose Marketing


“NAMM was good this year. The traffic was a little thin at times, but we still saw the dealers we wanted to see at the show. I would rate it about the same as last year. Nashville is still a great town and the Music City Center is a top-notch venue.”

Tim Pfouts

Vice President

S.I.T. Strings Co., Inc.


Best & Worst In Show

Best Signs of Things to Come

The future of MI is seemingly in good hands. Here we see Adderly Surack, daughter of Sweetwater founder and President Chuck Surack, getting up close with the Gator Cases mascot. Aged 10, Adderly already has her own business card. Her title? “CEO In Training.” Then there was the youngest red-badger, Océane Lembert of Amahi Ukuleles.

Best ‘Cinematic Backdrop’

A free show celebrating Summer NAMM, sponsored by Asterope, Seymour Duncan, Kyser, and Wampler, among many others was held at Little Harpeth Brewing over on Oldham Street. The view out the backdoor – train tracks and rows of storage containers in the foreground, the city skyline in the background – while Diarrhea Planet (“Worst Band Name” winners? Or maybe BEST!) was pretty remarkable.

Best Attention-Getter

As with the gathering in Anaheim, The Boutique Guitar Showcase was one of the more consistently packed spots on the show floor.

Worst Job

You couldn’t help but feel badly for those unfortunate vendors tasked with manning the food booths inside Music City Center. It’s not that the work, itself, is bad and I have no idea what the pay is, but an $8 cold turkey wrap is a tough sell when all one has to do is step outside to get some legitimately great BBQ or chicken for the same price or less.

Worst? Best? Dining Choice

Other than partaking in the delicious BBQ provided at the D’Addario pre-SNAMM party (another “Best of,” but seeing as they’ve gotten the nod for the past three years…), I managed to only eat chili cheese dogs the entire time I was in Nashville. That many steps closer to the grave, perhaps, but it was delicious!

Best Interior Décor

The event hosted by Bose Professional, Martin Guitars, Telefunken, Chauvet DJ, and IndyMusicSales at 632 Fogg Street would’ve been a hit already, thanks to lively sets from Jamie Kent and Paul Childers, but the real “win” was this Pat Cooper album cover hanging in the hallway (alongside many other classic covers, but nobody could touch Cooper).

Best Retail Display

MJC Ironworks’ in-store display setup is built to last!

Worst Place to Drop a Hotel Key

The main drag of Broadway has its appeal – yes, I can hear all the old-timers (me, included!) saying, “It’s way different than it used to be!” – but trying to retrieve my keycard after dropping it on the street on a busy Friday was… challenging!


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