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In A Time of Industry Realignment, You Can Expect the Best from a NAMM Show

by Menzie Pittman • in
  • Small Business Matters
• Created: January 26, 2017
Menzie Pittman

Menzie PittmanRepetition is the Mother of Skill:

As I reflect back on 2016, it was quite a year for Contemporary Music Center. You may or may not know, but CMC was graced with NAMM’s top honor, Dealer of the Year, and while you would immediately think that winning DOY makes life easier, one peculiar aftermath and benefit also occurs. Your business falls under a wonderfully increased scrutiny. So, after your win, your task then becomes how do I turn this moment into a consistent propulsion for better opportunities? Well, the answer is easy – attend the 2017 NAMM show! Just like practicing an instrument, the more you engage, the better you play because repetition is indeed the mother of skill. 

Innovative thinking and frontline feedback:

In the NFL it is often said that you are only as good as your last catch. So to stay at the top of your game in any professional environment, you must continually break new ground and stay relevant to your industry’s ever changing ways along with the new innovations, and trends. I know of no better place to refresh stale thinking and examine new industry ideas than the NAMM show . You can get fresh insights from manufacturers, or better yet, get real time feedback from speakers at NAMM U, or the NAMM Idea Center and Tec Tracks . I always attend several sessions at every NAMM show because these are the best and brightest dealers and innovators sharing their insights.  It’s real front line feedback and worth its weight in gold.

Just like guitarists, the style of independent music dealers has changed:

Although it was an in vogue style in the late sixties and early seventies, guitarists no longer turn their backs to the audiences to hide their special licks. As a matter of fact, in today’s world of shameless self-promotion, they make a video and sell fancy licks by the note.

In the same way music dealers have also changed (at least the smart ones), and they will gladly share their successes and struggles. I am in constant conversation with other dealers; as a matter of fact, my daughter works for another dealer, Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville, and that is one of our best stories to share with our customers. Where else other than the NAMM show will you cross paths with the world’s best retailers, musicians, and business leaders? Conversations about pain and gain happen abundantly at the NAMM show. Everyone knows it is the best networking resource available to anyone in the music business.  

The Famous Hallway Chats:

Something that the most successful business people know is the value of conversations in elevators, conference center aisles, and hallways. They can net you huge opportunities and even better, they can even be career changing. We all go into the NAMM show with an agenda, but the magic of NAMM is in the impromptu, and the verve of the improv. These are the magical moments that fall into your lap. To steal a quote from Bootsy Collins, “We are at The NAMM, baby.”  

When the Industry is redefining itself and realigning, that’s when you need NAMM the most, and that’s when NAMM is at its best:

These are the moments when NAMM shines the brightest! Everyone at the show knows that the music industry, like all industries, is constantly redefining itself. The way we market, the mediums though which we communicate, the style of the end user and their preferences of consumption…it’s all changing by the hour and the participants who adapt, survive. It’s that simple.

NAMM knows this, and its members know this. It’s our job to remain relevant and up to speed on the everyday changes in our industry. It’s no secret that if you don’t adapt, you simply perish. So my advice is to take advantage of the industry’s best resource: the NAMM Show .    

In Closing:

If you have enjoyed this column, don’t forget, if you see me in one of the aisles, stop me and say hello. I’m always up for intriguing and inspiring conversations with my colleagues. We are incredibly fortunate to do what we love as our vocation, and as Joe Lamond says, “The NAMM show is a moment where we all come together as a family and have our January reunion.” It doesn’t get any better than that!


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