What is NAMM and why is it important?

NAMM is a big deal for music brands. It’s the largest platform in the world for companies to demonstrate their products to dealers, distributors and most importantly, you, the consumer.

Cian Hodge

Cian Hodge

NAMM in a nutshell:

  • NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants
  • Hundreds of companies, big and small, congregate to share their latest products
  • Influencers, musicians and retailers get to test out the products
  • Social media for NAMM creates millions of views and interactions
  • Distributors and retailers can network and organise purchasing


What happens at NAMM?

NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) brings over 100,000 like-minded people together every January for three days of non-stop musical action. Think of it like a musical instrument Comic-con or E3 geared towards industry professionals. It’s a chance for brands to showcase the very best of what they make.

The organisation was established in 1901 in Anaheim, California. It quickly grew into the most prominent music tech event worldwide, only rivalled by Musik Messe, which takes place in Germany.

Your favourite companies of all backgrounds, disciplines and niches are each given a booth at the Anaheim Convention Centre to present their latest products. Every household name, from Fender to Zildjian and Roland to Gibson bring their ‘A’ game to one of the loudest, busiest places on earth. But it’s not just the big boys in the music industry who benefit. New and unfamiliar brands are able to boost their following through the massive amount of media coverage.


Who gets to go?

NAMM is only open to those who work in the music industry. It provides the likes of musicians, Youtubers, journalists, retailers, representatives or even a sound engineer from the other side of the world with a platform to create content and test out the products.

Influencers are an important part of the NAMM cog in demoing instruments and interviewing their creators. That’s why you’ll see so much social media coverage and an influx of Youtube videos posted on NAMM weekend. It’s the best way to keep followers in the loop with new guitars, synths and all other fantastic instruments without hundreds and thousands more people crowding the venue.

Video content attracts millions of views every year and provides brands with essential media exposure. Whether a guitar is great or not up to scratch, people are going to find out about it pretty quickly. Public reaction to a product can make or break a company as it’s likely to influence a retailer’s decision whether to take stock of an item in the future.

Lots of high-profile musicians attend NAMM to promote their signature instruments. Overall, celebrities and influencers make up a massive 13% of all people attending the show, so you’re sure to see a familiar face in a video or two.

And of course, you get to see a lot of talented players rock out on cool guitars, drums, keyboards and more. This is the dream holiday destination for gear nerds.

Captain Anderton and musicians


Not only is NAMM a great opportunity for you guys at home to see what’s happening behind the scenes in the music industry, but it’s important for distributors and retailers too.

Business-people who buy and sell instruments have a chance to browse what they’ll order over the next year. It also acts as a forum to make industry contacts so they’re on the pulse of the hottest upcoming products.

A smaller-scale Summer NAMM takes place in Nashville, with the main purpose of networking and discussing distribution and purchasing. Key product releases, meanwhile, are announced at the more glamorous Winter NAMM. Almost like a Christmas pick-me-up.

NAMM is an all-round winner for retailers, companies and fans. The event now attracts 7000 brands and 10,000 members, 29% from outside the U.S. The music tech industry is bigger than ever and it’s all down to an extremely passionate following.

If you enjoyed this read, check out more of our Learn articles!

Cian Hodge
Cian Hodge
Cian is a writer for the Andertons web team. He shares his birthday with Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and believes he will one day reach the same level of stardom. Cian is a big prog/modern metal fan so naturally loves Bare Knuckle pickups and pointy guitars.

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