Summer NAMM Provides More Business-Enhancing Opportunities

As a platform to develop new business strategies, connect with industry peers and to springboard into a successful second-half of the year and the all-important holiday sales season, 2017 Summer NAMM welcomed a plethora of buyers, exhibitors, artists, industry veterans and music professionals last week at Music City Center in Nashville (July 13-15). The annual show drew crowds of industry pros seeking to invest in their businesses and gain a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic marketplace.

“The pace of change is accelerating, and with it, never has it been more critical to long-term business success to work on your business rather than in it,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM president and CEO. “The three days of Summer NAMM offered our valued members the tools needed to nurture and grow their businesses through opportunities to cultivate new relationships, reaffirm existing ones and invest in their businesses through high-value educational opportunities.”

An abundance of professional education sessions and leading manufacturers welcomed 14,284 industry members to the show, a 2 % increase from 2016. Of note, international attendees accounted for a growth of 14% over 2016, and nearly 28% growth over 2015; a trend which continues to demonstrate the international opportunities available to both buyers and exhibiting members alike. Buyers from around-the-world found their way to Summer NAMM in a comparable count to 2016, but with the diversity of location and store product mix and needs as differentiating factors. This year’s event welcomed a slight increase of 1% buying firms to the show; an increase attributed to multi-line carriers from the U.S. and Europe, and large ecommerce and click and mortar warehouse retailers populating the show floor with buying power.

The show counted 1,650 brands presented by 505 total exhibitors, comparable to 2016, but representing a 2% increase over 2015. Exhibitors included a dynamic mix of top-name makers in traditional MI including Fender, Gibson, Sabian, Peavy, Fishman, Martin, Eventide, Gator Cases, Hal Leonard, Gretsch, Boss, Yamaha, D’Addario, and a variety of pro audio companies were also on-hand including Avid, IK Multimedia, CAD Audio, Casio, PreSonus, Neutrik, Rupert Neve Designs, and many more.

For established brands like Fender, Justin Norvell, Senior Vice President said that "Summer NAMM is the springboard for the back half of the year and a time where you create excitement and create energy with dealers, retailers, and partners in the industry, and set the table for Q3 and 4, which is when most of the business is done in the industry."

David Jahnke, Senior Vice President of Sales for Hal Leonard echoed the sentiment: "We come to meet with existing dealers, but also to make a lot of new connections. It's a great opportunity to connect with a lot of retailers we probably wouldn't see throughout the year. Summer NAMM really gives us the ability to have deeper conversations."

New and returning exhibitors accounted for 235 of the exhibitor count and included emerging brands like Audio Fusion, 3Dio, Devilcat Amplifiers, Locomotive Audio, Serek Basses, the Electric Harmonica Company and many others. For a variety of new exhibitors, the vibrancy and opportunity to exhibit at Summer NAMM is a “must have” for the growth of their business. Tim Barbour, co-founder of Strung, a custom guitar string accessory maker, explained: “We didn’t know what to expect for the first time coming here and we’ve met some amazing people,” he enthused. “Within the first hour of the show, we’ve opened up a few wholesale accounts and we’re already planning to come back.”

Another first-time exhibitor, 3Dio, a binaural microphone company, chose Summer NAMM to launch their products. Jeffrey Anderson, founder and CEO of the company shared, “Summer NAMM is our first show, and being in Nashville is the ideal location for us. There are retailers and manufacturers here to garner interest in our products and make connections, and artists are able to give it a try.”

More than 60 professional development sessions, designed to enhance skills and businesses across the industry, were presented by NAMM U and TEC Tracks. Hot topics included innovative store design, video marketing secrets, and differentiating your lesson program, as well as a variety of technology focused sessions including the art of music production, audio for VR and live sound essentials. Special guests, including country hit-makers Sheryl Crowe and Sara Evans delighted the crowd, making for a could-not-miss gathering for professionals involved in all areas of the industry.

“The Summer NAMM Show goes leaps and bounds beyond the inventory selection process. I use this week as an opportunity to network and meet people, grow, be a sponge and soak up knowledge from other industry veterans,” offered Tim Spicer, owner of Spicer’s Music. “The Idea Center and the networking opportunities give you the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, and the wisdom gained will help your business for years to come.”

NAMM U and TEC Tracks were top-stop-spots for leading retailers, including Robert Christie, President of A&G Central Music (and 2017 Dealer of the Year), shared, “I come mostly to connect with my peers and attend the educational sessions. There are a lot of smart people here, so I take advantage to learn more. When you're surrounded by people who have the same passions for the things that you do, and are continuing to learn how to do it better, it can't help but rub off on you. We learn lessons at every NAMM Show.”

"We like coming to Summer NAMM for the classes. We've been in business 45 years, we know you always have to keep your eyes and ears open to what's attracting the customer, how we can make ourselves visible in ways we might not have thought of, how to approach a customer with a conversation they might not have thought about,” said Renee Farley, owner of Farley’s House of Pianos.

The show kicked off Thursday morning with a session from futurist and “Retail Prophet” Doug Stephens in a session titled “The Retail Store of the Future.” In the NAMM U Breakfast Session, Stephens shared his thoughts on what awaits retail and how the music products industry can begin to chart the future now. Friday’s Breakfast Session welcomed customer experience expert Doug Fleener as he presented “The Connected Consumer: Customer Experience in an Online World.” Fleener offered best practices for creating a valued customer experience in-store and online. Saturday morning offered perennial favorite “Best in Show.” Presented by moderator and Music Inc. Publisher Frank Alkyer, the panel of independent retailers discussed their top product picks from the show floor.

Networking and exciting NAMM at Night events could be found each day of the show, starting on Thursday with the 34th annual American Eagle Awards. The annual awards show honored country music legend Crystal Gayle; singer, songwriter and poet Patti Smith; and comic, actor, writer, musician and creators' rights activist Harry Shearer. Presented by the National Music Council, the highly prestigious awards are presented each year in recognition of long-term contributions to American musical culture and heritage, the importance of music education for all children, and the need to protect creators’ rights locally and internationally. NAMM members in attendance enjoyed performances from each artist, and the chance to witness Paul Shaffer and Richard Leigh present the awards.

Friday evening gathered the industry to honor their peers in the Top 100 Dealer awards. Now in its seventh year, the Top 100 applaud the excellence and innovation found in music products retailing and this year, recognized A&G Central Music with the prestigious “Dealer of the Year” award. The event was hosted by Country Music Television personality Cody Alan, complete with music from Tim Akers and The Smoking Section featuring "American Idol" finalist, Melinda Doolittle. A complete list of winners can be found here:’s-top-1...

On Saturday - Music Industry Day - attendees and members welcomed country music legend Charley Pride. Pride treated the crowd to a rousing performance spanning his decades of hits, including “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone?” and a few songs off his recently released album, Music in My Heart.

As the 2017 Summer NAMM Show came to a close, the industry left armed and focused on bringing value back to their businesses for a successful second-half of the year. New exhibitor, Jake Serek, founder of Serek Basses said, “The feedback and connections I’ve made here will carry back with me to my shop and help me improve my business and my products. I’ve made lots of valuable connections at Summer NAMM which I’ll carry home with me.”

Next up for the music instrument, pro audio and live event tech industry will be The 2018 NAMM Show. Held January 25-28 in Anaheim, The 2018 NAMM Show campus will be expanded and reimagined with the addition of 100,000 square-foot building, new alliances with ESTA, AES and others, new exhibitors in the lighting, live sound and event technologies areas, as well as new networking opportunities and events, such as the Parnelli Awards, designed to serve the crossroads of the industry.

Photo links for editorial use: Please credit Jason Davis/Getty Images for NAMM

Summer NAMM Show Opening

American Eagle Awards, Honoring Crystal Gayle, Patti Smith and Harry Shearer

Top 100 Dealer Awards

Summer NAMM Music Industry Day Featuring Charley Pride

Video Width


Video Height


Article Type

Article Image

Elizabeth Dale

In 1976, after running a successful accordion studio in New York, Mel Schiff and his wife, Sally, decided to open All County Music in the Ft. Lauderdale, Florida suburb of Tamarac. Having taken a brief hiatus from the music industry to relocate to Florida, the Schiff’s found that they missed the industry and were eager to return to it in their new community. Initially the pair found their niche in band and orchestra music and repair, and further flourished when they found a home supporting the local school music programs. All County Music prides itself on being a family run business with the Schiff’s son, Fred, taking over as President of the operation upon his parent’s retirement.

Counting nearly 50 years of service, All County Music has been honored with six Top 100 Dealer Awards, an award which highlights music product retailers that have gone above and beyond in reaching customers, growing their business, and positively impacting their community. Held annually at Summer NAMM in Nashville, Tennessee, the Top 100 Dealer Awards have been referred to as the “Retail Oscars” by Music Inc. magazine.

When asked about the keys to retail success, Fred Schiff indicated that the secret is relatively simple: to just pay attention, listen to your customers, and offer solutions. He preaches his philosophy on customer service to his staff at both his Tamarac and Pembroke Pines locations in Florida. In addition to this, Schiff offered advice to those who hope to open their own retail stores, simply put Schiff stated to “watch the details,” as a means to know the business at every level.”

In testament to the power of both their service to the community, as well as the healing powers of music, Schiff recently took on a new project: honoring band major and Marjory Stoneman Douglas victim, Alex Schachter. Schiff, along with NAMM Member Conn-Selmer, presented 50 local band students with trombones baring Alex’s name; Alex was a trombone player in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Eagle Regiment marching band. One student recipient shared with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that he had used his trombone to further honor Alex: “We decided to busk – that’s the art of street performing – so we did that to raise money for the Alex Schachter [Scholarship Fund] so kids could keep thriving and do what they love, which is music.” Read the full story here:

As Summer NAMM and the 2019 Top 100 Dealer Awards announcements are rapidly approaching Schiff is hopeful that All County will be recognized for a seventh time by the industry for the 2019 Top 100 Dealer Awards. Of the past recognition, Schiff shared, “It is an honor and a validation by our industry to know that our best practices are considered to be of high value.”

The 2019 Top 100 Dealer Awards will take place on Friday, July 19th starting at 6:00 pm inside the Davidson Ballroom of the Music City Center. For more information about NAMM’s Top 100 Dealer Awards please visit

Elizabeth Dale

Make Music Day is the annual, global celebration of the benefits of making music. Held annually on June 21 to coincide with the summer solstice, Make Music Day is part of the international Fête de la Musique, taking place in more than 1,000 cities across 120 countries. Open to everyone, regardless of age or skill level, this daylong event calls for people to pour into their communities and share music with the world. In 2016 Make Music Day activities found another unique home in Lagos Nigeria. Currently, as the only participating location in Africa, Make Music Lagos (MML) has demonstrated significant success with their approach in celebrating Make Music Day. We sat down with a representative of Make Music Lagos’ planning committee and NAMM Member, Showgear Limited’s Chief Operating Officer Adeola Akinyemi to discuss Make Music Lagos.

  • Make Music Lagos
  • Make Music Lagos
  • Learn to Play Make Music Lagos
  • Learn to Play Make Music Lagos
  • Make Music Lagos
  • Make Music Lagos

How has the event grown since the first program in 2016?

Make Music Lagos (MML) has grown steadily since the first event. In 2016 we had just three events and about 35 performances. By 2017, the number of concerts increased to 12 with about 120 musicians performing. Also, in 2017, we had the first Mass Appeal event with over 200 artists performing an original piece by renowned producer Wole Oni. In 2018 the event grew to include 21 concert venues with about 200 artists, groups, and bands performing. In addition to the Learn to Play event, street studio, flash mob, we also added the Learn to DJ event which included free DJ equipment giveaways provided by the American based company, ADJ and Showgear. 2018 also introduced a flash mob event at the Ikeja City Mall and Palms Mall in Lagos.

In 2018, we organized a benefit concert in collaboration with Courage Education Foundation and Lavenida Multipurpose event center to raise funds for the education of children. The event was free, but guests were encouraged to sponsor a child. This event was organized during Nigeria's independence celebration and is particularly dear to my heart because of the outcome and ripple effect. We invited some of the children from a government school, who participated in the Learn to Play event in June of the same year, to perform and the foundation offered five of them university scholarships.

This year we are looking forward to more collaboration and we are encouraging stakeholders and the general public to organize/host independent music events. We hope to spread the event across the city and improve participation significantly.

What’s new for Make Music Lagos in 2019?

In previous years, most of the events have been organized by Showgear and the Make Music team, however, this year we are asking people to organize their own event under the MML platform, and the feedback has been great. The new initiative this year include:

  • A one-day song writing camp by The Rtist Hub; a community created by Bez (a popular Nigerian Alternative artist)
  • Music Business Conference organized by the Make Music Lagos team in collaboration with Porch Music Box and geared towards education and empowering young and upcoming artists as well as creating a networking opportunity.

The New Music Marathon: An initiative for radio stations and other media houses to participate in MML by playing new music as well as music that has never before heard on the radio for a full 2-hour period on the Make Music Day. The goal is to give an opportunity to young and up and coming artist to get their music played on Radio/TV for one day with ease. We hope that will generate some opportunities for struggling artists.

What should those who are unfamiliar with Make Music Lagos or the music scene in Lagos know about the community?

The Make Music Lagos community is made of partners and volunteers who work together every year to organize and promote the Make Music Day. We currently have over 50 partners including hosts and resource partners. We also have over 150 volunteers every year. The music community in Lagos is very large and extremely active. We relatively dominate the music industry in Africa, particularly in contemporary music. There are concerts and music activities every weekend and new music hubs spring up regularly. There are also many highly talented people in Lagos and Nigeria as a whole. The Make Music Lagos community also includes more than 300 artists who have performed on the Make Music Lagos stages/events. We try to keep the community active by having continuous engagement throughout the year.

How can people in the area get involved? Is there any way those across the globe can help the efforts of Make Music Lagos?

Make Music Lagos is open to everyone. The more the merrier. Locally, people can get involved by:

  • Hosting an event
  • Volunteering with the MML team
  • Sponsoring an event (Particularly the Learn to Play event as we hope to donate music instruments to some of the schools we will be visiting)
  • Provide resource support
  • Attend a Make Music Lagos event
  • Spread the word about MML

Globally, people can help the Make Music Lagos effort by:

  • Promoting the event; sharing our stories and the stories of our artists and participants through media.
  • Providing opportunities for our artists to share their music either through invites to perform or sharing our music on global platforms.
  • Visiting Nigeria to attend our MML events or by joining us online by following @makemusic lagos.
  • Support from NAMM and its partners through giveaways to encourage music and music education.

What should visitors be looking forward to most for this year’s event?

This year's MML is going to be a week-long event from June 16-23, 2019, with more venues spread across the city to ensure that people can participate without having to travel out of their neighborhood. We want everyone to find the music in them and join the celebration however they can.

Is there a place people from across the globe can follow the events of 2019 Make Music Lagos?

We will be updating our social media handles with up to date information on the events (@makemusiclagos). People can also get more information and follow the events from our website. We will be live streaming the events on our Facebook and Instagram pages between June 16-23, 2019.

Where did the inspiration for Make Music Lagos come from?

The inspiration actually came from a NAMM newsletter. I came across the publication on the Make Music Day, and it stirred my interest, so I went to the Make Music Day site and found that Lagos was not a part of the event. This was a bit disappointing because Lagos is definitely a significant music hub in Africa. I then spoke with my team, reached out to the Make Music Alliance team and they encouraged us to organize the first event in 2016. Make Music Lagos owes a debt of gratitude to the organizing team whose efforts ensure a successful event each year. Without the help of Femi Ojo of Impreva International, Suzan Adinoyi of Stylevile, Mosunmola Akinwamide of IPC events, Temisan Ikomi of Alien Nation, Adewale Segunfunmi of Legacy Planet PR Co., and Kenneth Akinfolunrin, Adeola Akinyemi, and Tayo Akinyemi of Showgear none of this would be possible. 

Alastair Dunn

Interview Date:
February 24, 2019
Job Title:
R.G. Hardie & Company

Alastair Dunn served as Pipe Sergeant of a 12-time world champion pipe band. He joined the band in 1998 and, in 2006, began focusing his deep passion for the instrument in the manufacturing side. He joined the R.G. Hardie & Company to continue the rich history of the company’s dedication to making the most reliable and consistent bagpipes possible. During his 2019 NAMM Oral History interview, he spoke of the history of both Peter Henderson, which was established in 1868, and R.G. Hardie & Company, which was established in 1950. He explained how both companies are now combined to produce high quality bagpipes used all over the world. Alastair adds his unique perspective and passion to the creation of these instruments and their distribution. Whenever given the chance, he happily tests the completed product!

Video Width


Video Height


Alastair Dunn

:( Sorry! Your browser cannot play this video either because javascript is disabled or your browser is not HTML5 compatible. Try Chrome or Firefox.


Subscribe to RSS