Two weeks ago 90,000 people attended the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2011 "Taking It To 11" convention in Anaheim. This event showcases the latest and greatest hardware, software, instruments and more for the music industry. I set up live streaming for music production leader Cakewalk at this event in the past, but this time I was an attendee.
The most impressive thing to me about NAMM is the creative and massive ways vendors choose to exhibit. After working in the high-tech realm for so many years, my first NAMM a few years ago blew me away. I love to walk the stalls here and take photos of interesting booths as well as see what's new in music production software and DJ set-ups. Celebrity sightings are fun too. Watching Stevie Wonder try out a keyboard or Joe Satriani noodle on a guitar is the stuff you won't get at CES or TechEd.
Sound Cloud - www.soundcloud.com - Sound Cloud is a platform that allows you to record sounds and easily post up to social apps and to Sound Cloud's own platform. They have a free app for your iPhone/iPod Touch, etc… Basically you can record sounds anywhere using your device and you can immediately upload "to the cloud", share them with friends, and/or ask for feedback. It’s a cool and easy way to get your stuff out of your head and saved.
From their site: SoundCloud is an audio platform that enables anyone to upload, record, promote and share their originally created sounds across the internet, in a simple, accessible and feature-rich way. From sample to symphony and soundbite to soliloquy, SoundCloud allows sound creators anywhere to instantly record audio on the site or via mobile applications and share them publicly or privately; to embed sound across websites, social networks and blogs and receive feedback from the community.
Nimbit - www.nimbit.com - Nimbit offers direct-to-fan sales, marketing, and career management solutions for independent artists and music labels through Web-based services. I love anything that empowers artists and musicians to control their own fans, careers and music. Nimbit offers three different account options, NimbitFree, NimbitIndie and NimbitPro. Nimbit has done a great job of including items that should be givens (social apps, ticket sales, marketing, etc.) The killer part of this in my opinion is the warehousing and fulfillment piece and a super easy to use dashboard.
iRig - http://www.ikmultimedia.com/irigmic/features/ - this device turns an iPad or iPhone into a recording device. The quality was great. Podcasters, internet radio hosts and musicians will love this. With the saturation of "i" devices, I think this product could be a big bet. And its super easy to use with just one or two cords.
DJ Johnny Juice & DJ Roonie G Spinning at the Denon Booth - I have a touch of a bias about Juice as we've worked together a ton, however he amazes me at his skill and precision with his art of the scratch. He's been in the business a long time and he produces Public Enemy, Chuck D and has won an Emmy, enough said. DJ Johnny Juice works out of NYC but works all over the world so if you see him on a bill somewhere - go see him.
DJ Roonie G is a mix master of both music and video. I LOVE this concept. There was a bar in Dallas that did this and it was a blast to watch and dance to the DJs there. Roonie G killed it for just a short set at the booth. His website has great reel and I am determined to figure out a party for him to raise the roof.
Trend: Content is Still King
An issue across all events and industries is Controlling Content. More and more companies are providing ways for individuals to control their own content and in the music industry that trend over all others will continue to drive business, the economy and musicians/recording artists with the ability to continue to create (and eat). Putting the 'i' back into 'individual' is where it's at. Corporations and record companies will continue to try to control bandwidth, access to content, distribution rights - at the very least owning your own content is being proposed now more than ever. Empowering artists was alive and well at NAMM 2011 and it seems that technology is finally catching up with tools to do just that. Do take it to eleven but make sure you have your paperwork in order first...
Summer NAMM 2011 - July 20-23, 2011 - Nashville, TN
A colleague and I checking out the event.