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Citing health concerns related to COVID, the Carlsbad-based National Association of Music Dealers Show will move its 2022 NAMM Show to the Anaheim Convention Center from January to June.
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The world’s largest annual music and instrument trade show, organized by NAMM Carlsbad, will also consolidate the 2022 NAMM Summer Show and move from Nashville to Anaheim, then hold separate events in 2023 in both cities.
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The NAMM Show, the world’s largest annual musical instrument and equipment trade show, has postponed its Winter 2022 edition at the Anaheim Convention Center from January 20-23 to June 3-5.
This change was prompted by health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic in general and the Delta variant in particular. The move to June will also see Carlsbad-based NAMM – short for National Association of Music Dealers – fold its annual small NAMM show in July in Nashville for a new June show in Anaheim.
The joint measures and decisions reflect the uncertainty surrounding national and international health protocols during the ongoing pandemic. The 2019 edition of the NAMM Show, held at the Anaheim Convention Center and adjacent hotel ballroom, attracted more than 115,000 NAMM members from 120 countries. They come together to do business and see a series of new instrument lines, sound and lighting equipment, digital music technology equipment and other products come to market.
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“The move from January to June next year is 100% due to the pandemic, and there is a good chance we will cancel our January 2022 program,” NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond told the Union-Tribune on Thursday. If all goes as expected, he said, the nonprofit business organization plans to resume the January and July events in Anaheim and Nashville, respectively, in 2023.
“For a large gathering like the NAMM Show, it takes six months to carefully organize it,” Lamond insists. “With the Delta variant – and maybe another new variant that’s close at hand – we’re not sure we can move forward. Global travel bans and restrictions are also important factors for us.
The 2021 NAMM Summer Show took place in July in Nashville as a private event, but has been cut from three days to two and shortened strategically in other ways. In any given year, the Nashville show draws about 15,000 NAMM members, one-tenth the number of its January counterpart in Anaheim.
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“Our show in Nashville feels like the pandemic never happened,” Lamond said. “A few weeks after that, everything started going backwards with the Delta variant.”
Due to the pandemic, this year’s January NAMM Show will be the first in the organization’s 120-year history to be held online. Billed as “Believe in Music”, it was also the first NAMM Show that was free and open to the public, not just paying NAMM members.
Garth Brooks and Melissa Etheridge will be honored in a week-long virtual event, which kicks off on Monday and follows a whirlwind year and horrific lows for the global music industry.
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The online presence for the online edition is over 93,000. But it’s unclear how many of them represent NAMM members almost doing business, and how many are just curious laypeople.
“There seems to be a lot to lose by not having an in-person event. The feeling of many of our members is that they want to return to the in-person NAMM event in Anaheim when it’s safe to do so,” said Lamond, who in June announced his intention to step down next year as head of NAMM.
The NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center typically attracts 115,000 NAMM members from around the world. This year’s edition in Anaheim is held online.
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The online pivot to the January 2021 event in Anaheim is a pragmatic decision by NAMM, which reports that the global music equipment and technology industry generated $17.3 billion in revenue in 2019, with US sales accounting for nearly $8 billion of that total. Total US revenue for 2020 is $7.21 billion; global numbers for 2020 will be announced next week.
NAMM’s decision to postpone the Anaheim 2022 date and combine it with the July show in Nashville was praised by music industry leaders, including Jamie Deering, CEO of Deering Banjos Spring Valley, and Tom Sumner, president of Yamaha Corp.
“I think it’s a good idea to move the NAMM Show to June and (combine it) with the Nashville NAMM Show,” Deering told the Union-Tribune. “It allows us to put our resources into one event. And it’s a good time to leave the winter holiday season, which is a notorious time for viruses in general.
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“The Anaheim NAMM show is always the biggest and most rewarding for us. So in the long run, whether it’s January or June doesn’t make any difference to us.
That sentiment was echoed by Yamaha Corp.’s Sumner. United States, one of the largest producers of musical instruments and musical instruments in the world. Global revenue in 2019 was around $4 billion.
“I think moving to June is a good move and Yamaha supports it,” said Sumner, speaking from Yamaha’s Buena Park office. He and NAMM leader Lamond work together as members of the organization’s executive committee.
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“We would like to have a private event in 2022,” Sumner said. “And the only real way to do that is to delay January in Anaheim until late spring and early summer.
“The NAMM show in Anaheim is huge for us and the entire industry, and Yamaha started our plans for the January 2022 show in July. Due to the pandemic, it was difficult to plan much for January. The move to June gives us more confidence and more track to perform very well.
Although the 2022 NAMM Show in Anaheim will now rotate from January to June, NAMM will host a one-day live stream event of workshops and performances on January 21, as a seamless follow-up to January 2021’s “Believe in Music” week.
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“Whether the epidemic passes quickly or slowly is a big question for all of us,” Lamond said. “So we’ll continue to do what we’re doing now, which is to adapt as quickly as possible as things change.”
Jamie Deering (center), CEO of Deering Banjos, is shown with his parents, Greg and Janet, who founded the Lemon Grove company in 1975 and made it an international leader in its field. “I think it’s a good idea to move the NAMM Show to June and (combine it) with the Nashville NAMM Show,” Deering told the Union-Tribune. “It allows us to put our resources into one event.”
4:06 pm September 9, 2021: This article has been updated to reflect that NAMM CEO and President Joe Lamond revealed in June that he plans to relinquish his leadership position at NAMM next year.
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In its history, NAMM has always been a big deal for the music industry, with big global brands mixing with famous musicians. The entire music retail industry is invited to come and see what’s hot that year. The factory began to lure retailers for orders, and we, the press, got the latest information about new products. Sounds great, right? Well, things have changed…
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This year, NAMM 2022 combines two events into one; held over the weekend of June 3 and 5, it was half the size of the previous show, with a number of well-known brands missing.
The upcoming NAMM 2023 event will take place April 13-15 at the Anaheim Convention Center. So does this mean that from now on there will be no Winter NAMM and only one event a year?
I imagine brands like Fender, Gibson and PRS decided they didn’t need NAMM this year. It is known that this brand has been working hard to fulfill the huge orders for guitars for the past two years. With a full order book, the additional and organizational costs of running a booth at NAMM seemed like a headache to bear for a while.
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Furthermore, guitar sales during the pandemic and shutdown have increased and many retailers are struggling to fill orders.