Post-Show Recap: NAMM Show Produces Largest Event Since 2020
Returning to its traditional January dates for the first time since the pandemic, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show brought together more than 62,000 attendees who are part of the $17 billion music products industry — a double-digit increase over last year’s attendance numbers.
Held Jan. 25-28 at the Anaheim Convention Center (ACC), the NAMM Show featured more than 1,600 exhibitors displaying more than 3,500 brands. Comprising 15,000 global member companies and individual professionals, NAMM produced its largest event since 2020.
The music industry has experienced massive disruption in the past several years, due to COVID, the rise of streaming services, shifts in retail, supply chain delays, emerging technologies like AI and the surge in concerts post-pandemic. In fact, the global ticket gross for the top 100 tours of 2023 reached $9.17 billion, up 46% over the prior year, according to Pollstar.
The association also experienced a leadership change in 2023. Joe Lamond, who served at the helm of NAMM for 20 years, stepped down, and John Mlynczak assumed the position of NAMM president and CEO in May 2023.
How did this impact the music industry’s largest U.S. gathering?
“We gathered in 2024 at the intersection of unprecedented disruption and emerging new technologies, and our industry proved this past week that it is more than ready to move forward together,” said Mlynczak.
He continued, “The overwhelmingly positive reaction from our members renews and invigorates our commitment to serve as a global platform for business growth, and continue our work year round to serve the music industry that we all love and cherish.”
We were on the ground to attend NAMM Show 2024, and here are 10 notable highlights from the event.
- Attendance up YOY. Attendance was up by more than 15,000 (33% year over year), compared with last year when NAMM drew 46,711 attendees in April. Of the more than 62,000 attendees in 2024, more than 10,000 were international attendees from 125 countries, regions and territories. Attendance at NAMM Show is still down significantly from 2020’s record breaking attendance of 115,000.
- Exhibitors up YOY. The number of exhibitors was up by 400 companies, compared with the 2023 NAMM Show, which attracted more than 1,200 exhibitors. Booths with the most traffic featured artist performances — from acoustic guitarist and DJs to pianists and mariachi bands.
- Security was high. NAMM required ID and bag checks to get into the vast indoor and outdoor campus at the ACC. In an effort to limit people sharing or passing badges, security checked ID against badges all day and night, every single time.
- Concerts were king. More than 200 artists performed over the course of five days on two outdoor stages, one arena and several stages at nearby hotels. All performances were free. Notable names included Lindsay Stirling, Jon McLaughlin and Chris Rocha.
- Beyond the show floor. The event’s largest exhibitor, Yamaha, opted for a ballroom on the 3rd level of the ACC instead of the trade show floor on level 1. Yahama also sponsored the outdoor main stage.
- Education was a big draw. More than 200 sessions led by more than 650 speakers were presented for every professional community — retail, brands, pro audio, music technology, entertainment technology, music educators, students, nonprofits, artists and more.
- Drum circle tradition continues. For the 31st time, NAMM’s All-Industry Drum Circle brought the Palm Court alive with a rhythmic celebration. The annual event offered participants a chance to enjoy the collective music-making experience. Percussion instruments were provided and sponsored by Remo.
- Economic impact. NAMM is also a boon for the local economy, this year bringing to Anaheim more than $120 million and 25,000 room nights — surpassing last year’s figures of $88 million and 17,000 room nights, according to Visit Anaheim.
- New event launched. During a breakfast before the show opening, Mlynczak announced the launch of NAMM NeXT, an event that will be held July 17-18 in Nashville. “It will be a thought leadership summit, not a trade show,” said Mlynczak. NAMM NeXT registration opens March 1.
- Striking hotel workers. Unite Here Local 11, which represents more 32,000 hospitality workers in southern California and Arizona, picketed at the Sheraton Park Hotel, adjacent to the ACC. According to the United Here Local 11 website, the union does not have a contract with Sheraton Park Hotel, along with 32 other hotels in California and Arizona. If you have an upcoming event in these two states, see the full list of impacted hotels here. Picketers played drums at early morning hours, waking up guests and attendees at nearby hotels like the Hilton and Marriott.
Want to see more? See the NAMM 2024 photo gallery here.