With initial figures from the organiser showing a 87,569 registrants, a two-percent increase from last year, while international registration experienced a two-percent drop on 2009. Last year's show was, as MI Pro reported, a quiet affair by NAMM standards – which is still pretty lively, but 2010 saw the show returning to its buzzy, busy best, where it seemed even the marching bands were blowing with a little more determination than usual. Everyone had made up their minds that this was going to be a good show and then proceeded to follow through.
Even in economically challenging times, the association reported 1,373 exhibitors at this year’s show, including nearly 250 new exhibitors – a new record number in the event’s 108-year history, showing a surge in market enthusiasm, particularly from the small to medium sized businesses. With the larger, traditionally large and showy exhibitors reining things in almost impercepotibly, but reining in all the same, the smaller businesses have seen the opportunity to make a lot of noise and distract buyers from their more usual sources.
The drop in international visitors, while disappointing, certainly backs up the impression that walking the aisles gave one, but those that made the trip were certainly in positive mood.
The overriding message, however, was that 'the turnaround begins here'. The US has struggled more than anyone since the near collapse of the financial world a couple of years ago, but NAMM, as an association and as a show can see some sort of light up ahead.
“This year’s NAMM Show marks a critical turning point for the international music products industry,” said NAMM's president and CEO, Joe Lamond. “A strong NAMM Show signals the beginning of a comeback with buyers returning to their hometowns with renewed energy, passion and hope for a strong 2010, and exhibitors enjoying strong floor traffic and sales as they introduced hundreds of new and innovative products to the market.”
Well, hundreds of new products, certainly. Innovation was thin on the ground this year as the manufacturers clearly struggled to come up with something after a couple of years of reduced R&D spend. 2011 could well see the bottom of that particular dip, but if the enthusiasm that appeared at this show translates into business done and cash invested, that prediction could well turn out to be overly gloomy.