The yearly NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show encompasses so much on various levels. On one end, Music retailers are connecting with companies with product to find out “the next hot thing” they can sell in their stores. On the other end, it is a must go-to for any musician that wants to be, stay, or increase connections in the music industry.
I find that I benefit, significantly, by attending in some form or fashion each year. It is a networking giant for anyone that utilizes it’s offerings properly. It does take work and it helps to know some people who can introduce you to people who might not give you the time of day otherwise and garner their attention. But at the same time it does give you access to a plethora of musical legends, sidemen, industry moguls, and important product specialists that you can just walk up to, introduce yourself and hand them a package, CD, or card and or pitch an idea to easily.
For instance, One year, I got an endorsement on the word of a rep that was familiar with my work without even playing or submitting a package. Another endorsement I achieved by dropping by a booth and jamming. And another from being seen performing one evening at the event. The NAMM is not open to the general public. You must, already, have an endorsement by a company participating in the NAMM attending as an exhibitor, or obtain a guest pass from someone in affiliation with a participating company.
Even if you are not looking for endorsements, keep your camera ready for photo opps with any one of your musical heroes you may meet. I, usually, get a directory the first day and map out which booths I want to go by and appearances I wish to check out or attempt to sit in on. If I don’t, Time will fly by and before I know it, the day is over. Do bring snacks and comfortable shoes. And most musicians love to hang, so if you do know some cats in the music biz, It may take some time getting from booth to booth.
Excitement is always in the air and there will be enough chops to check out to last you the rest of the year.