My Experience at NAMM 2022: The World's Largest Music Gear Conference
Here I am, living my best life at NAMM 2022
NAMM is back y’alls.
NAMM is back in action for the first time since Jan 2020 and this year was decidedly different from other years. For those of you who don’t know, the NAMM show is the National Association of Music Merchants trade show which is one of the largest gatherings of the music industry related to instruments, gear etc…
First of all, instead of being in January, it was in June. As a person who works at a college, I really liked the fact that we were gathering in June because the school year was done, and I actually had the energy I needed to make the most of things. Secondly, there were significantly less people and vendors on the floor than in previous years. This was because of Covid obviously, but also because of a chip manufacturing shortage which has kept many vendors out of stock and with nothing new to debut at the show. Before I arrived, lots of people told me that this was the NAMM no one was going to. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and Beats By Girlz was very much in the house.
My Favorite NAMM So Far
Turns out, less people means a better time overall. There were about 50% fewer people at NAMM this year and because of that, I found everything to be easier and better. Less lines, less crowds, more facetime, more hands on. For me, so much of NAMM is about getting to connect with my colleagues in the industry and not so much about walking the show floor. I got to run into so many people I have worked with for years and years for the first time since 2020, and MAN was that awesome. I am not a selfie person but as you can see below, I took a bunch. People in general just wanted to hang, and that was awesome.
There were some huge companies that weren’t there (cough… AVID, NI etc… cough), but there were still enough booths to fill halls A through D and the North Hall. Each Hall is basically like a Costco sized event space in and of itself, so we’re talking a lot of ground coverage here. There were also far more educators and students there this year and that totally changed the vibe for the better.
Yes, Stevie Wonder still showed up and played all the keyboards, yes, the biggest mix engineers on the planet like Bob Clearmountain and CLA were there plugging their stuff, and yes, there were still instruments, presentations and panels galore. Dare I say, NAMM is back.
From left to right: me and Tony McCall (GM of Ableton INC), me and Samuel Peña (Assistant Director of the Popular Music Program at ASU), me and Jelie (online tutorial influencer), Vonna Wolf (BBG Denver Lead and artist), Laura Escudé (Artist, Playback Engineer, and CEO of Electronic Creatives) and Ebonie Smith (Chief Engineer, Atlantic NYC), me and Lily Burns (Composer and Producer)
The Changing of the Vibes
I spoke on three panels, which is two more than I had planned on, and led one product demo and performance for Apogee Electronics showcasing the new Duet 3. I got to be the ‘late addition token female’ on two panels , one of which was me filling in for another token female who caught Covid and was unable to perform her duties. I’m beyond being bothered by these things anymore so I sat on those panels, and I spoke my damn mind. You can tell there was a huge push for panels and vendors to be showcasing more women and marginalized identities on their rosters, and not in the traditionally sexualized manner I’d seen in years past.
Gone are the days when you would see women dressed up in revealing clothing, enticing you into the eclectic guitar booths. In fact, I really only saw one thing that made me feel like I didn’t belong, and that was on day two when I happened upon Marcella Araica speaking to a huge sea of dudes about mixing. I walked up to see what was happening and then bounced off the energy like a pinball when I saw so many men crowded around her. It caught me off guard because I hadn’t felt that vibe in a long time and had sort of forgotten about it. Silly me!!!