By Jen Boylen
The National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM is a not-for-profit whose goal is to promote music making through trade shows, professional and market development and NAMM membership opportunities. The mission of NAMM is to strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music, both of which are embodied during the NAMM trade shows.
NAMM has two shows throughout the year: One in Nashville during the summer and another to start the year in Anaheim, California, which took place Jan 22-25, 2015. NAMM shows are the world’s largest trade-only event for the music product industry. It has steadily grown in attendance each year with over 100,000 attendees at each show.
The main attraction at any NAMM show is the product exhibits where buyers can see what’s new in the industry and what they will plan to buy in the coming year. This year, many new and exciting products were unveiled as a part of the event–including mew and limited edition drums and kits, synthesizers, drum machines, microphones, headphones, guitars, accessories and countless others.
Computer programs were also on trend this year. Reason and Native Instruments both released new programs or upgrade packages, but were sadly outdone by competitor ProTools. ProTools | First, a free version of the program, made its debut during the Anaheim event.
In 2008, ProTools released its first free version of the program, and now, seven years later, they have returned to that business model. Today, free is the trigger word for many consumers. So much so, that a ‘freemium’ business model is frequently adopted by many companies. The freemium idea, where free meets premium, balances on a simple idea: give customers the core product for free in order to sell enhancements and upgrades. Many computer applications, such as Skype or interactive games already follow this practice, and this is exactly what ProTools is trying to achieve with the free version of its software. Artists who haven’t used ProTools previously due to its price, will now have an opportunity to do so. This is a great way to hook folks on ProTools which is at the root of their marketing strategy, ProTools is allowing people to test their product with a free, scaled down version. In turn, they gain brand loyal consumers who are willing to invest in the ProTools name in the future.