Industry Profile: Joe Lamond, CEO of NAMM

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Joe Lamond is president and CEO of the National Association of Music Merchants. Lamond joined NAMM in 1998 as director of market development.

For those who haven’t been to a NAMM show, could you explain what goes on there, and how it effects the industry?

Two of NAMM’s most important annual events are the trade shows. Our largest event, the NAMM Show, is held during January in Southern California, and the smaller Summer NAMM is held during June or July. These conventions, open only to NAMM Members and the music products industry, typically attract tens of thousands of attendees who want to see new innovations and developments in music-making.

As an important part of that community, songwriters and artists do attend the shows as guests of our Member companies to see the new gear. You can think of NAMM like a very large support team for the thousands of songwriters and artists out there. Sort of like the Verizon commercial where you see a huge network of people backing each customer.  Behind every songwriter, there’s a support staff of 9,000 NAMM Member companies making and selling the tools needed to create all of that great music. NAMM is also leading the fight to support and strengthen music education and music-making in communities around the world through a number of programs and initiatives.

What are a couple of your highlights from Summer NAMM 2009?

Just being able to effectively produce the show in this unparalleled economic environment was a highlight.  But it’s great to see, hear and feel the optimism about music-making from the industry.  Being surrounded by that for three days really gets you charged up for the months ahead.

Tell us about some products you’ve seen during your tenure at NAMM that changed or will change the way we record and make music.

Well, music-making, especially recording, seems to be going more compact and mobile, whether it’s iPhone apps or hand-held digital audio/video recorders. It seem recording your music wherever you are, and not necessarily in a “studio,” is a trend to keep watching. So while the traditional view of the recording studio is definitely changing, one thing that isn’t changing is the popularity of music in our society. According to our latest Gallup Poll, a whopping 85 percent of people who don’t currently play musical instruments wish that they did. So more people do seem to want what our industry is offering.

What are some of the most bizarre products you’ve seen in your day?

Well, that’s pretty subjective, almost like asking, “What is the most bizarre song you’ve heard?”  It depends on your definition of bizarre.  One person’s “bizarre” product might be just the tool that another artist uses to create something amazing.  And our Members keep coming up with cool innovative products year after year that NAMM is proud to host at our trade shows.

What are some things retailers and manufacturers are doing to grow and sustain their businesses during the past six months?

Offering services in addition to products seems to be a theme I’m hearing. More retail stores are looking for ways to offer instrument repairs, rentals and music lessons. Manufacturers are looking for ways to cut costs, deliver their products through the channel more efficiently, and reach new customers of all ages and skill levels.

Could you outline a couple key initiatives for NAMM for the rest of the year, as well as 2010?

Yes, NAMM is busy year-round working to lead the industry and create more music-makers through a vast assortment of programs, partnerships and initiatives. We have an exciting new national Battle-of-the-Bands competition called “SchoolJam USA,” where school bands of any genre can enter to win a trip to the finals at the 2010 NAMM Show, along with money for their schools.  Speaking of bands, we are also proud to sponsor the 9th annual “FORTUNE Battle-of-the- Corporate-Bands” competition and we’ll see the finals for that event at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in October.

Our “Wanna Play?” (www.wannaplaymusic.com) national public-awareness campaign about the proven benefits of making music continues to enlist the help of celebrities–musicians, actors, politicians, sports figures, personalities–to help spread the word and get more people playing. And finally, our Support Music Coalition continues to grow and look for new ways keep music education strong in schools and communities across the country.  For more information, please visit www.namm.org, and check back often for new developments.  Or you can find us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on all of NAMM’s activities.

Anything else?

Yes, NAMM would love to have more songwriters and artists involved with our efforts to get more people playing music and keep music education strong in our schools. For more information, please e-mail wannaplaybynamm@namm.org

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