By Lou Washington 

I’m not talking about Southeast Asia here, I’m talking about one of the greatest tech trade shows of the year, the Anaheim, CA hosted National Association of Music Merchants show. NAMM 2012 kicked off its winter show on Thursday, January 19.

For any serious amateur musician, this show is somewhere on the bucket list. For me, NAMM combines two of my favorite things, music and technology. Make no mistake, this is a technology show.

Most people probably don’t associate the terms “Music Business” and “technology” in the same thought. Sure, the music publishing establishment nearly ruined the entire industry by refusing, for years, to embrace digital technology. But for musicians, musical instrument manufacturers and teachers, technology has been at center stage for a long time.

NAMM is the annual coming out party for technological innovation in the world of music. And let me tell you, this is one big party!

NAMM by the Numbers

NAMM 2012 is expecting attendance to hit 90,000 visitors during the four-day show. Attendees will be able to visit 1,400 different vendor booths displaying in 8 separate venues throughout the Anaheim Convention Center and area hotels. The local business community expects the show to have an 80 million dollar impact on the local economy.

The show is not just about looking at drums and guitar picks. NAMM is featuring around 140 separate live music performance events. Many of these events feature multiple musical acts. The musicians themselves range from widely known performers to the very obscure. The mix is, well the only word that springs to mind is eclectic.

If you like jazz, you can check out Saxophones Unleashed. How about the Get-A-Life Marching Band? Or, perhaps you would prefer some gospel. How about checking out The Darlings; not sure if we’re talking the old bluegrass group or the newer LA based rock group.

Lot’s of Rock, lot’s of Hip Hop and every other genre you can imagine is kickin’ it out in Anaheim this weekend.

It’s all about Innovation

But, let’s face it, the real reason people go is to look at all of those beautiful, shiny new musical instruments. I can spend hours happily wandering around the local Sam Ash or Guitar Center stores. I can’t imagine being able to take in the entire exhibit floor at NAMM. There’s just too much to see, too much to try out and too many people to talk to.

My second report will have details about the products, what’s new and what’s better this year. Here’s a teaser, guess what is establishing itself as the must have piece of hardware for musicians?

Would you believe the iPad?

More tomorrow!