Attending NAMM Has Been an Integral Part of West Music’s Success

Nearly every successful dealer I know wouldn’t dream of missing it. Here’s why I think it matters.

For most of us regular people, it is so natural to get distracted about what’s happening each business day, online and elsewhere, that we can lose sight of the importance of having a strategic plan, our roadmap for the future. And I get it, when looking at booking the trip to Southern California, we’re talking about real dollars and real-time commitments with many seemingly more urgent priorities.

Here’s why I personally think attending The NAMM Show just might be the most important investment you’ll make in your business all year. Attending is the number one opportunity to work on the most important aspect of business success, yourself! With a combination of passion and opportunity on display, the platform offers the rare chance for you to see a vision of the future, what trends will be coming next, and what new skills and ideas will be necessary to maximize your success.

Personally, I credit so much of my career to the educational and networking opportunities I’ve had at NAMM. Our industry has visionary leaders willing to share their knowledge and passion at NAMM U, and the price for all of this incredible knowledge was simply attending (and learning!). My annual pilgrimage to Southern California also reminds me that I wouldn’t be where I am without the incredible support, mentoring, and friendship of so many talented people, and that having been so blessed, we all have a responsibility to give back to the next generation of industry leaders.

And giving credit where credit is due, in addition to my retail peers, I believe our exhibiting members are the stars who have taught me the most! Their drive to innovate and compete deserves our admiration and respect, and without them this incredible experience wouldn’t be possible. Where else can you connect with leaders from over 7,000 brands, all in one location, to see first-hand the latest products and have the critical conversations that will allow you to work together as effectively as possible?

For West Music, we think of multichannel as much more than just our website and bricks-and-mortar stores. Many retailers today are expanding into the live sound and event technology space and this year’s NAMM Show will welcome more exhibitors and how-to sessions than ever before, something of great interest to us personally and to many of our peers who are seeking new and profitable opportunities.

Our annual family reunion is a chance for all of us to give back. Supporting The NAMM Show fuels our association's ‘Circle of Benefits’ business model using trade show revenues to support and advocate for music education, fund new music programs and music-brain research, and lobby policymakers to create more music makers of all ages. We’ve had some major legislative and policy victories in the past few years, and, while there is always much more work to be done, school music and arts programs are alive and well in our country thanks in part to these important efforts.

And as an industry, I strongly believe that we can and should be more diverse and more inclusive. In my 30 years of attending The NAMM Show, I have witnessed a growing sea change in the positions women hold, and with our new S.W.I.M Fund (Smart Women in Music), we are doing even more to empower and mentor up and coming professionals to reach their full potential. Our diversity pipeline is filled with talented young people who will be leading the industry for decades to come.

Those who know me well, know that I’m kind of a “bottom line” person, and the bottom line with attending The NAMM Show is simple. Coming to Anaheim (and bringing as many of your team as possible, to strengthen your bench, and reward and encourage your rising stars) and taking advantage of the incredible educational opportunities along with seeing the flood of new and innovative products will set the stage for your growth and success. Oh, and you’ll likely have a ton of fun, catch up with friends and peers and rediscover the passion that got us all in the business in the first place! With a return on investment like that, how can anyone who is serious about success possibly miss it?

Think of the NAMM Show as your “clubhouse,” your “Cheer’s Bar” where everyone knows your name. We’ll see you there!

Robin Walenta • NAMM Chair • President/CEO of West Music