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INTERVIEW: NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond

Adam Savage
INTERVIEW: NAMM president and CEO Joe Lamond

Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM spoke to API editor Adam Savage about what visitors can expect from the 2013 Show...

The event attracts more than 90,000 pro audio and MI industry personnel from all over the world to the Anaheim Convention Center in California each year, and is set to take place once again from January 24th to 27th 2013.

The most significant change this year is the introduction of 'The Venue', a new section dedicated to sound, lighting and staging products, which is just part of the organisers' plans to provide more facilities and content for visitors from the pro audio industry, as Lamond explains:

"That whole category for us is growing, and it all started about three years ago when the TEC Awards moved from AES to NAMM and we created the H.O.T. (Hands-On Training) Zone for live sound, touring, house of worship, recording – the whole education track for those categories," Lamond says.

"What we hoped would happen did happen, which is we attracted more and more companies from that category to exhibit, so that's why we were able to create The Venue. The increasing numbers meant it made sense."

And it's not just the number of audio and lighting professional that is on the rise; this year is likely to see an increase in both exhibitors and overall visitors.

"This year will be – from an exhibitor stand point and in terms of the amount of space taken – our largest show since 2009, so we're still building back from the recession. Now companies are saying 'let's see how economical we can be, let's see if we can take a smaller space' and the reality is we have to support that and take the long view," Lamond reveals.

"What we keep growing in is attendance and that's a double-edged sword. This year, the way we're looking, it's going to be close to 100,000 attendees. That's a wonderful thing – there's more buyers than ever, and it's growing – but my concern is at what point does it become too big?"

A consistently impressive attendance figure is a clear indication of NAMM's ever-expanding global reputation, but trying to cram as many people as possible into the Anaheim Convention Center has never been the intention of the organisers.

"Our emphasis is on quality of attendee, but the growth just seems to keep happening. The important thing is to get people there from around the world who are involved in the manufacturing, selling and using of music and sound products – that's the community," explains Lamond.

Although perhaps better known as an MI trade show, heading to NAMM is becoming an increasingly popular trip for visitors from all areas of the music and live events industry, and represents one of the best possible opportunties to 'mingle' with personnel from other sectors. The flurry of product launches might be the main reason why so many flock to Anaheim each year, but Lamond believes the networking opportunities it offers cannot be overlooked.

"There's a lot of connection between the technology in live events and recording and MI and there's not the separations that there were. I think it's very natural for these people and these companies to come together at the NAMM Show," Lamond continues. "I think there's a transfer effect of knowledge, technologies and friendships and we found that at the root of it all they're very similar people, whether they ended up in the MI space or on the event technology/live sound side. Bringing them all under the roof of the NAMM Show is a very positive thing for the industry."

The H.O.T. Zone, with its broad line-up of educational sessions spread across the four days, has also grown to become a key feature of the show, and is another major attraction for audio and sound professionals. 

"There are many different places to go and see product, including the Internet and all kinds of trade fairs around the world. Our interest is to see the industry become more successful and grow and that involves the industry becoming better at what they do, so we can have a small hand in this by providing these sessions and encouraging the sharing of information on technology and customer service," Lamond says.

"We've done that well in the MI space, helping dealers become better dealers and compete with the best in the world. We've done a good job helping create a better industry at retail and so we wanted to give the same level of education to live sound, touring, recording, house of worship, commercial install attendees."

"What makes the NAMM Show special is that it's the gathering of the tribes – pro audio, school music, piano and organ, and rock n roll guys from all over – and they're all very unique in their specifics, but they're all rooted in the love of music. I love new products as much as anybody, but I also love the events that happen where people are mingling and they'll talk and learn something from each other."

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Audio Pro International will provide full live coverage of all the big news coming out of Anaheim when the event gets underway next week.

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Tags: aes, namm, pro audio, tec awards, namm show, anaheim convention centre, NAMM 2013, musical instruments, joe lamond

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