The NAMM Show, organized by the National Association of Music Merchants, is one of the largest music industry events in the world. Aimed at uniting the global music, sound, and entertainment technology communities, the annual show serves an incredible experience — whether you’re an influencer, content creator, musician, producer, retailer, instrument manufacturer, or buyer. Here are some top tips for attending NAMM 2024 like a pro.
NAMM 2024 is right around the corner and will take place on January 25-28, 2024, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Southern California.
Every year, NAMM produces this epic trade show to strengthen and promote the music products industry — specifically instruments, gear, and the technology that backs them all. But the show offers more than just a showcase of these products.
If planned correctly, the event can unlock opportunities to kickstart lucrative deals and make lasting business connections. NAMM isn’t just a retail-focused show, it’s a broader industry gathering that surrounds you with tens of thousands of like-minded people.
Pete Johnston, Director of Marketing at NAMM, explains how The NAMM Show kickstarts new avenues of music businesses. “The NAMM Show is a launchpad for a lot of careers,” Johnston told DMN, adding, “I always talk about the inspiration — I come home so fired up after some NAMM sessions.”
“Companies and ideas are born at NAMM,” says Johnston.
“I see people morphing and changing and playing different roles — with music being the core. The foundation underneath all of this is active music — the art of actively participating in music.”
Whether you’re an influencer, creator, musician, producer, or a tech developer, you can leverage the NAMM Show to grow your audience, brand, and business. If you’re planning to network, make valuable connections, score an endorsement deal, or nab a spot on an interview or podcast, the time to prep would be right now.
Here are the top pro tips to ensure you make the most out of your time at the event — from DMN and NAMM organizers themselves.
1. If you’re a content creator or influencer, “Leverage NAMM for collaborative opportunities and endorsements,” says Alex Solano from AlexProMix.
Solano says arranging meetings with software and hardware companies before the event will maximize opportunities — for channel growth, scoring a feature on a panel or podcast, or to nab a brand endorsement deal. “Initiate conversations through emails or direct messaging on social media to book slots,” Alex advises. “Engage in dialogues about potential video projects, and synchronize your content timeline with their product release dates. This proactive strategy secures exclusive content that aids in expanding your channel’s reach and enhancing the company’s market presence.”
Solano shares that companies are on the lookout for influencers who can attract the next generation of music creators. He emphasizes that NAMM can be a tool for artists and producers to evolve from regular users of music products to brand endorsers. “Compile a portfolio or EPK that shows your use of a brand’s equipment, highlighting its integration into your performances or productions. Visit the brand booths with confidence, present your portfolio, and propose a partnership for endorsements.”
2. Whether you’re an artist, producer, or a music tech mastermind, don’t shy away from connecting with media outlets in advance.
“Request interviews to discuss your innovative contributions to the music industry, whether it’s through recent works or new technologies like AI and Dolby Atmos,” Solano also advised.”Landing features on podcasts or video interviews can boost your brand’s narrative and solidify your footprint in the music industry.”
3. Prepare for a ‘NAMM Show Week.’
Johnston reveals that even though the four official exhibit days run Thursday to Sunday, ‘we also have events, meetings, and education sessions happening on that Wednesday,’ adding, “We’re calling it a NAMM Week. It’s a gathering spot for the week for a lot of the industry.”
4. Attending the NAMM Show as a member and non-member.
A NAMM membership is specifically tailored to provide relevant benefits and support. It also entitles members for year-round benefits, including access to the NAMM Show. Register as an individual member, Service Provider, Manufacturer Representative, Commercial Affiliate, Retail Affiliate, or Retail Professional. Your NAMM Show 2024 badge will reflect membership type.
If you’re not a member and want to attend the show, NAMM requires every user to register directly with a unique email address. Within your registration confirmation is a QR code that allows you to have your badge printed at any of the following locations.
Hall E and ACC North Level 2:
- Tuesday, January 23, 2024: 8 am–6 pm
- Wednesday, January 24, 2024: 8 am–6 pm
- Thursday, January 25, 2024: 7 am–6 pm
- Friday, January 26, 2024: 7 am–6 pm
- Saturday, January 27, 2024: 7 am–6 pm
- Sunday, January 28, 2024: 7 am–4 pm
ACC Box Office C/D in front of ACC building (Exhibitors ONLY)
- Monday, January 22, 2024: 1 pm–5 pm
- Tuesday, January 23, 2024: 8 am–6 pm
- Wednesday, January 24, 2024: 8 am–7 pm
Ideally, get your badge from any of these pickup centers a day before to skip the queues on event day.
5. Don’t look like a tourist with a map — download the NAMM Show+ App for effective floor and time management.
Head over to the NAMM schedule on the NAMM Show+ App — for attendees and exhibitors — well before the show. It has everything you need, including hotel reservations backed by NAMM and its official housing partners.
Plan your vendor appointments around the sessions that you want to attend. Strategizing from the get-go is the best approach to get the most out of NAMM.
View the terrain to map out a plan that works for your goals and your company’s. The NAMM Show+ App gives you everything you need to access educational sessions and details, guiding you where you need to be – and when. Connect with attendees, get navigation tools to help plan your meetings (using the map of the show floor will help you avoid walking back and forth), and stay up to date with post-event stuff.
6. Leverage the 200+ educational opportunities for NAMM member communities.
NAMM has also announced over 200 industry and educational opportunities for the 2024 show for NAMM member communities. These professional communities include retail, brands, professional audio, music tech, live event production, artists, music education, nonprofit and community leaders, college music business students, and more.
Johnston talks about a program called TEC Tracks where it’s all about music production, dissection, how people made albums, mastering, immersive audio, AI, and others. “There are so many people that started businesses because of somebody they met at The NAMM Show, or an idea they gathered from the opportunities there,” said Johnston, adding, “Get in with the developers, the engineers, and you never know what you’ll create or what you’ll start.”
John Mlynczak, president and CEO of NAMM explained how 2024’s show is aiming to reconnect the global music industry and excel on every level, ‘from our music stages, to educational and industry programs, to incredible exhibitors on the show floor,’ adding, “The NAMM Show will provide critical platforms and industry innovations that will drive growth to create a better future for the next generation of music industry leaders.”
As a snapshot of 200+ educational sessions up for grabs, members can check out the following:
Music Business Track features 45+ sessions to educate business leaders in our industry, with a focus on artificial intelligence as a marketing and business-efficiency tool, along with key sessions on leadership, social media and online marketing, finance, music lessons and retail tech.
Audio Production and Music Technology Track with 65+ sessions covering the latest innovations and new ideas in recording, live sound, music technology and music business.
Entertainment Technology Track brings 25+ sessions and training opportunities for professionals in lighting and production design, rigging, touring — even event safety to navigate a post-pandemic world.
College Students and Faculty Track; K-12 Educator Track offers 46+ sessions, workshops, and events for music students and faculty in collaboration with the College Music Society (CMS) and others — with multiple opportunities to network with industry professionals.
Non-Profit Track will offer sessions that cover tools of community building via the creation of and support to non-profit music service organizations, alongside best practices, fundraising, and governance.
NAMM’s education sessions are free, and Johnston says, “If you have a NAMM badge, you get to come and get educated.”
7. Take advantage of the NAMM U Breakfast Sessions
Coffee, food, and music is on the menu with early morning sessions and panels. On Friday, January 26th, the NAMM U Breakfast Session tackles ‘Technologies Revolutionizing the Future of the Music Business.’ Bonus? You’ll get to network before the venue gets packed and crowded.
8. Balance fun with goals — but don’t get distracted.
Even though it’s fun to watch every demo, concert, and artist signing (whether you’re a regular attendee or it’s your first time), don’t let all the fun distractions cannibalize your time. Decide exactly what’s worth seeing, pick up innovative ideas that apply to your business or brand, and remember to take notes.
9. Prepare to be overwhelmed — but remember you can ‘choose your adventure.’
The NAMM Show is big — many football fields big. Picture a small town that’s packed with the population of a small city. The NAMM Show 2024 is a broader music industry gathering rather than just a retail-focused show. The buzzing global marketplace is a massive celebration — it will be loud, chaotic, and a bit mad.
According to Johnston, people who feel the NAMM Show is too big are forgetting that they can pick portions that excite them and suit their goals. “You can choose your adventure. And whichever adventure you choose, it’s going to benefit you. It’s like a campus with all the different majors. you have your communities, and you can grow your knowledge and your skills.”
10. Avoid bottlenecks: travel, shuttles, dining tips, more.
If you’re flying to attend NAMM, your trip will be smoother if you pick a flight on lower-traffic days. Tuesday or Wednesday are generally the best to ensure you miss the crazy rush.
And here are a few last tips; wear comfortable shoes (you’ll be walking a lot), and grab a pair of earbuds (NAMM gets loud!). Plus, arriving early to avoid the pouring NAMM crowds can save time and energy. For meals, aim to eat outside of normal mealtimes — say, grab a bite at 11:00 am instead of 12:30 pm.