Joe Lamond is the CEO and president of NAMM. Lamond took some time to speak with FOX Business about the NAMM Convention, which took place between January 13th-16th at the Anaheim, CA convention center.
Lamond said that “The biggest opportunity lies in helping customers actually make music. We are really good at the retailing side.” Lamond also noted that small businesses that have survived the recession “are going to do really well.”
Q: What were some of the opportunities for small business owners this year at NAMM?
Lamond: I think the way we looked at the show this year was through a couple different lenses. We are coming through a brutal recession, and it impacted every aspect of our industry. We had a tough couple of years as most industries have. We saw small businesses that had to tighten up every aspect of their business, use social media, enhance their Web sites, and really adopt the most effective use of technology for their stores.
The small businesses that have come through the recession took the opportunity to reinvent themselves and listen really carefully to their customers … what they want. They offer services from teaching, to renting and repairing instruments. [Small business] made their stores the central hub of music making in their communities. That is something you can’t get on the Internet.
Q: Where have you seen the most rapid growth on the product side?
Lamond: If you are talking about the past year, we saw stabilization. I heard over a dozen times, it stopped getting worse. What we are hoping for in the year ahead is some small growth going forward. I don’t think anyone sees rapid growth. I think we will see measured growth but compared to the last couple years is a victory.
Q: How was attendance this year at NAMM versus last year?
Lamond: On the registered attendees we were at 90,114, which is a 3% increase over last year. [Until now], we never had over 90,000. It took the first 80 years of NAMM shows to get 10,000 attendees. But this is a new record for us. International was up 2%. We had good growth in international over the years. It has become the world’s music show.
On the exhibitor’s side, we are below our high water mark of 3,008. 247 companies exhibited at NAMM for the first time. I see innovation there. There was opportunity created by the recession. Most of these are small companies with new ideas. There will be some products that come out of the show that will change the industry.
Q: What advice do you have for small business owners in the music space?
Lamond: This is an industry of passion. It is the key ingredient it takes to survive. What is different about our industry is that people in it are very open about sharing ideas. There is a real camaraderie in this industry. We welcome new people. NAMM University Courses at the show are filled with industry veterans who want to help new people succeed.
Q: What does attendance this year say about the overall music industry?
Lamond: Throughout the whole recession, our registration has remained song. The biggest thing this says is that the interest and demand for music products is almost immune. It just keeps growing in spite of the economy conditions. The interest in music making continues to grow.
Q: How does your organization keep its “belief in music” as the traditional recording models of the past are being changed by technical advances?
Lamond: Throughout NAMM's history, technology has changed everything we do. In the early days of the recording industry, there was a group of musicians who tried to get Congress to outlaw the idea of recording equipment. It shows you how you can’t fight the technology changes.
This year it might be how much music is made or taught on iPads, but it is inevitable that our industry continues to change. The outcome is that more people today can make and enjoy music than anytime in history -- and that is a good thing.
Today the music products industry is a multi-billion dollar monster. The National Association of Music Merchants, which represents the industry, has been around since 1901, and has grown from being just for piano makers, to the sellers of music and sound products made around the world. By Suzanne Zionts