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Music City Center Hosts It's First NAMM With Big Success

Country Artists Mark Wills and Ray Bensen Asleep at the Wheel on the show floor during opening day of Summer NAMM in Nashville's Music City Center on July 17, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for NAMM)

Country Artists Mark Wills and Ray Bensen Asleep at the Wheel on the show floor during opening day of Summer NAMM in Nashville’s Music City Center on July 17, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for NAMM)

Spurred by a promising first half of the year, NAMM members rolled into Nashville’s Music City Center last weekend (July 17-19) ready to find new ways to grow. With increased buying power, a bigger show footprint, and live music performances, the largest Summer NAMM in six years generated optimism throughout the music industry. Increases in international attendance and progressive educational offerings rounded out the up-tempo vibe.

“NAMM members who attended Summer NAMM are leaving Nashville with a competitive edge to succeed in the second half of the year,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. “We are grateful to the members who shared their paths to success with their peers during breakfast sessions and the Top 100 Dealers Awards. Together we will continue to strengthen our industry.”

This year’s Summer NAMM featured the most exhibiting companies since 2006’s event. When the show opened on Thursday, 438 exhibitors representing1,510 brands were there debuting new products. An increase in exhibiting companies expanded the show to two full halls, which is half a hall larger than last year’s Summer NAMM footprint.

Adding to the energy were 103 new-to-Summer NAMM companies including Hang Over Guitar Straps, Blakhart Guitar Company, and Emerson Custom Guitars. Following a strong 2013 event, another 112 companies including Pearl Corporation, KHS, and Orange Amplifiers returned to the show floor after a hiatus.

“There is a good mix of exhibitors and some beautiful products,” said Brad Beavers of Mountain Top String Emporium in North Tazewell, VA. “I’ve done most of my buying for the rest of the year in the last two days.”

Major buying power showed up to shop the expanded show. The number of buyers attending Summer NAMM increased another 5% over 2013, which saw an 8% increase over 2012. In total 12,442 people registered for the event. The world’s top music product retailers combed aisles searching for products that will boost fall and holiday sales.

You come here thinking you know what you’ll find and you end up finding things you never knew you needed,” said Jenn Ladd, co-owner of Bluedog Guitars of North Vancouver, B.C. “And then there are products and people here we just have to meet with to make that in person connection.”

Brands and buyers alike point out the benefit of building relationships through in person conversations and face time at Summer NAMM. “As a growing company without a huge sales team, we find that the five-minute conversations at the show can seal the deal for the rest of the year,” said Ryan Cooper, Regional Sales Manager for Cordoba Guitars.

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