Russia: A New Musical Frontier Ripe for Market Growth

NAMM Russia offers more business-building opportunities for exhibitors as the shows draw interest across multiple product categories

NAMM Musikmesse Russia, the international musical exhibition held annually in Moscow, successfully concluded last September, welcoming more than 12,000 music industry professionals and music lovers to the show’s thematic pavilions.

Now in its sixth year, NAMM Musikmesse Russia and ProLight + Sound NAMM Russia shows have established themselves as our industry’s sole platforms to reach both the domestic dealers and distributors (including some of the CIS countries surrounding Russia) as well as professional attendees for MI, lighting, sound and event technology.

Music: the cornerstone of Russian culture

“I can’t count how many times I’ve been to Russia,” said Betty Heywood, director of international affairs for NAMM, recounting how much has changed in Russia over the years.

“Starting with a group tour as a 19-year-old, I was amazed at the beauty of Moscow, her grand buildings and the dynamism of her people —but it was a very different world back then when a visit to the Lenin Mausoleum was a must do for any tourist!”

Betty’s first visit back was for trade show business in the 90s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“It felt wild and exciting at that time, with people hopeful for change,” she continued. “Now, having traveled every year to Moscow to work with our partners on the shows there, one thing is confirmed every time: the Russians are a warm and cultured people, with a deep love of all music, opera, theatre and dance, and a warm and welcoming sense of humor and hospitality.”

Another thing Betty observed is how important it is for parents and grandparents to ensure their children get the best education possible. This includes music lessons both at school and in after-school programs, which ensure there’s a steady stream of young people growing up participating in active music making.

A smart investment

This appreciation for music was evident at this year’s NAMM Musikmesse Russia show. Scores of young people thronged the Guitar World, Drummers United, DJ World, Keyboards World and Yamaha’s Weekend Hall. The lines for an autograph of Tommy Aldridge rivalled any you’d see at The NAMM Show.

On the weekend, the Grand Band Show brought together marching bands from all over Russia, of all types and ages, to Sokolniki Park where the shows take place.

The ProLight+Sound NAMM Russia side was a platform for the real pros. Many technical directors from leading theatres all over the country came for a third time to attend the Theatre Forum where they could see and source new equipment for their venues. Investment in the installed sound and light, and stage technology segments is still strong, and continues to be so with the World Cup coming up in 2018, as well as it being the “Year of the Theatre,” a celebration that many theatres are preparing for with major renovations.

Russia is ripe for business, when it comes to music, sound and event technology, as many exhibitors experienced.

Pavilion changes well received by exhibitors and attendees

For the first time, the trade fair presented five pavilions dedicated to different product groups, including:

  • The Guitar World pavilion, dedicated to guitars and accessories
  • Drummers United, presenting drums and percussion
  • DJ & Electro World, featuring equipment for electronic and club music
  • Keyboards World, showcasing keyboards, acoustic musical instruments and accessories

“We are glad about our decision to participate in the show with a separate pavilion,” said Esinori Sasaki, general manager of Yamaha Music. “At the beginning of a new season, it’s important for us to gather all our partners to communicate about marketing and new products. Certainly, NAMM Musikmesse Russia is a very important event for us.”

Yegor Krundyshev from Inspector Guitars, a Russian manufacturer, also reacted positively to the changes. “At the exhibition, our guitars received the attention of both dealers and professional musicians. The audience of visitors completely justifies our expectations—90 percent of visitors are professionals and we got many prospective contacts.”

In total, more than 250 master classes, educational sessions, festivals, open lessons, competition finals, drawings, performances and autograph sessions were held for the four-day exhibition, drawing crowds throughout Sokolniki.

“It remains clear to me that the best way to experience a society and its people is to go and see it for yourself,” Betty concluded. “I’d like to invite our members and the industry to come and see this dynamic market for themselves when the shows return in September 2018.”