By Phyllis Pollack
Despite concerns about a failing economy and how consumers are spending their money these days, merchandisers who showcased product at National Association of Music Merchandisers (NAMM) Trade Show 2010 remain upbeat. Despite worries about the economy, there were 87,569 registrants this year at the NAMM Show, up 2 percent from last year. There also were 250 more brands distributing this year.
In addition to a the downcast economy, the downturn of the housing market, combined with the decline of the physical music CD, the closure of countless retail record chain stores and other record album retailers, the increased expense faced by touring artists, and several other economic factors, musical instrument manufacturers remained confident at NAMM this year. None of these potentially negative factors seemed to be a deterrent at NAMM for companies selling musical instruments or related technology. The general consensus among manufacturers attending NAMM was that the response from retailers there remained extremely positive, despite an uncertain market place.
Fender Musical Instruments Corp Vice President Of Global Channel Marketing, Paul Jernigan, stated, “We are extremely pleased with our retailers’ response to this year’s show in general, and our product offering in particular. The overall feeling we have received from our customers and business partners is overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, we are impressed, as always, with the entire NAMM organization. This has to rank as one of the best shows we’ve attended, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
One of the companies that has been showcasing product for years at the NAMM Show is Sabian, most known for the cymbals it manufactures. Bob Rupp, Sabian Cymbals Key Accounts Manager, said that NAMM 2010 was nothing but positive. He said it was in part due to Sabian’s being keenly aware of what the concerns of retailers would be this year.
Rupp observed, “The vibe was cautionally optimistic. The economy is definitely insecure. It’s not just like that here, but worldwide. It’s a huge concern for everybody. For us at Sabian, it was the busiest NAMM Show for us, in probably six to seven years, as long as I can remember. We had the busiest show, for us, because we had changed our ideas about selling to the retailer, in as far as what to sell to the retailer and the consumer, in accordance with economic times. Mainly with proper cymbal selection, proper cymbal pricing, that kind of thing, where the retailer likes that.”
Rupp commented, “When you go to NAMM, and the vendor shoves a bunch of unwanted product or programs down your throat, the retailer just tends to shy away. So this year, we had retailers coming to us with welcome arms, which we hadn’t seen to this extent for a couple of years. So for us, it was very optimistic. We had a very good year last year. We didn’t have some of the down slump that a lot of the vendors had. We ended on a really strong note. So from our perspective, it was a great ’09, and a great NAMM. Other venders, I couldn’t tell you what was going on with them. ’09 was remarkably positive. For a lot of retailers, it was extremely difficult. Having previously owned a drum store, I’m very happy I’m not a retailer any more, and having to struggle through that. I understand the concerns they have. Unquestionably, NAMM 2010 was very good for us at Sabian.”
As far as popular products for Sabian this year at the NAMM Show, Rupp said, “We refaced the Neil Pert (Rush) Cymbal, which is called Paragon. We refaced it, we put a brilliant, bright finish on it, and that was a huge buzz at the trade show. We also put a brilliant finish on our SX20. That’s a caste cymbal at an affordable price. Basically, it’s a high-end caste cymbal at an affordable price. Those two items were a huge buzz for us, giant movers at NAMM 2010.”
Sabian’s Rupp added that one strategy Sabian enlisted this year was coming up with a new trend that would be good at retail and for the consumers. He states, “We also introduced a reconditioned cymbal to address the needs of drummers that were looking for used cymbals. We have a cymbal called SR2. It addresses the need for used cymbals. They are acquired through retailers. It also addresses the need to recycle. So we take good cymbals back from dealers, good cymbals, like what we call ‘B Stock,’ something that could be old from a dealer that just didn’t sell. In the old days, we used to melt it, and recoup the metals. Now we reface the cymbal, and sell it as a used, reconditioned cymbal to the retailer. So it’s a great purchase, and it’s got a warrantee on it, and it’s a win-win situation across the board for everybody. Recycling.”
Rupp adds that Sabian is the only cymbal line doing this.
The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchandisers) trade show, held at the Anaheim Convention Center last week, ended this past weekend. NAMM is a non-profit organization that integrates relationships between companies and consumers, and strengthens the $17 billion international musical instruments and products industry. The convention this week marks the 108th trade show that has been held by NAMM. The event highlights a myriad of new products for musicians at the trade show held as a confab for music instrument and music product companies.
Watch a video of Tom Petty talking about drummer Steve Ferrone, who uses Sabian cymbals: