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Educators and students, purveyors and consumers, philanthropists and benefactors, celebrities and gawkers – these are the citizens of the annual National Association of Music Merchants conference in Anaheim, California.  This year honorary NAMM Mayor, Stevie Wonder, presided over 90,000 NAMM citizens; while President and CEO Joe Lamond seemed to have the power to be in multiple places at the same time.

Mr. Lamond emceed The Tribute concert featuring Tower of Power Thursday evening, presented Randy Jackson with the NAMM Music for Life Award, bestowed the honorary Mayor with a commemorative plaque, had countless photos taken with various VIPs in the NAMM Member Center, chatted up the staff and visitors in the convention center office, introduced NAMM Foundation Chairman Kevin Cranley at the Imagine Stage, and more.  Always appearing calm and friendly and tireless, Mr. Lamond emanated the general optimistic feeling of the entire event.

Paul Holdgate, Regional Sales Manager Hoshino USA (Ibanez Guitars and Tama Drums, gives his impression: “There was a lot of optimism at this year’s show. Most of my dealers are changing the way they do business in regard to promotions and sales. Social media is the new newspaper.  I had over 50 appointments and was one of my best shows ever.”

And while drumming up business (pun intended) is the main focus of the NAMM convention, what most people don’t know about NAMM is that the event also focuses on education and philanthropy with opportunities to learn about new business models such as social media, to test-drive the latest equipment from the vendors, and to attend invaluable daily sessions on everything from “The Changing Music Business” to “Being a woman in the Music Industry”  to “The Future of Music Education.” 

Here are just a few of the extraordinary experiences that were available to 2013 NAMM attendees:

The first Annual Womens International Music Network breakfast celebrated the accomplishments of several female music industry “moguls” including musician Orianthi, who also performed, and Founder of Daisy Rock Guitars, Tish Ciravolo, which has seen skyrocketing success by targeting their products to the smaller frame and hands of women, as well as several other inspiring She Rocks Awards recipients. Laura Whitmore, president of Mad Sun Marketing, Peavey Rep and recording artist, found the WIMN to create a hub to connect women in all facets of the music industry. The invitation-only breakfast, one of many events sponsored by the WIMN throughout the year, honored veterans of the music industry who have achieved great success in a male dominated world.

As a first time NAMM attendee, young singer-songwriter Taylor Cullen had this to say about her experience, ” It was a great experience though a little overwhelming. I didn’t make it to even half of what was there, but I had a great time and can’t wait to go again next year!”

While 17 year veteran of NAMM Kathie Rollins, West Coast Songwriters Regional Director, shared this: ” I absolutely love the event and feel it is the best for anyone in music no matter what field of music they are in, to make contacts with all the companies people need. It is the very best to make yourself known and get endorsements for yourself or if you have clients to be endorsed.  The morning breakfast meetings offer so much information and all the other events are so helpful in educating people. Add-in all the new products, instruments, concerts, education, and meeting so many wonderful people, the whole event is an awesome experience.”

Read the full article here.