The Music Business is Far From Dead – NAMM

Most of the attention is about the slow agonizing death of the record business, but the fact is that the music business is alive and while. Even if you no longer buy CDs, you are likely buying the occasional track. More than likely, you are streaming music from any number of sources.

The fact is, more people are listening to more music than ever before. And judging by attendance at the annual gathering of the National Association of Music Merchants, sales of musical instruments and equipment continues to surge. Indeed, this year’s NAMM Show in Anaheim last week grew to the largest and most inclusive event in NAMM’s 114-year history with a 6% increase in exhibiting companies over 2014’s event. A record 1,621 exhibiting companies brought their entrepreneurial spirit to Anaheim.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 3.55.09 PMThere was an array of legacy artists who made appearances (Moby, Trombone Shorty and Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jackson Browne, George Clinton, drum circle, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Lita Ford).

Musicians George Clinton and Keith Shocklee at NAMM at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 21, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM)

Musicians George Clinton and Keith Shocklee at NAMM at the Anaheim Convention Center on January 21, 2015 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for NAMM)

I enjoyed walking the floor, seeing the wide array of exhibitors and rubbing shoulders with the other 99,341 attendees.

The loudest section of the exhibit floor was displaying all manner of drums and cymbals.  It was audio whiplash indeed.

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The electronic dance music movement continues to pervade the music business. One wag estimates that the next Coachella lineup is fully 50% EDM. Although far from my ‘go to’ genre of music, I respect its growth.  I will always gravitate to music made from drums and wires, but I can’t deny the throbbing bodies massing around a guy with a turntable.

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Amps come in all sizes, and are a fundamental component of the music experience. The venerable Marshall name was touting what must be its smallest offering. Presumably it can still shake the floorboards when turned to 11.

Look for these if Spinal Tap ever does a follow up documentary.

Look for these if Spinal Tap ever does a follow up documentary.

Much as I love music, I am inept if you put an instrument in my hands. I hope to rectify that. A buddy has loaned me one of his extra ukuleles. I figure with 40% fewer strings I might be able to mimic Tiny Tim with enough practice.  NAMM caters even to me.

I will channel my inner Jimmy Page.

I will channel my inner Jimmy Page.


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment and technology scene for many years. He has written for Time Out London, Village Voice, LA Weekly and once upon a time won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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