Video: Why do we go to NAMM? Featuring Producer & Artist – Jae Deal

Let’s face it, it’s very hard to “make it” in the music industry as an artist, producer or engineer. You can be a badass singer, guitar player or “insert musicianship here”, but if you don’t know anything about marketing yourself, using social media or already have a high-ranking friend or relative that was/is already famous or in the music biz, it’s going to be really tough to get recognized for your talent in the way that would be satisfying to you, whatever your goals may be.

What is NAMM? NAMM is a music industry trade show hosted twice a year, drawing tens of 1000’s of musicians, producers, engineers, companies who exhibit, buyers and retailers for musical instruments. NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants, established in 1901, and is the not-for-profit association that strengthens the $17 billion global music, sound and event technology products industry.

Still lost? Think of all the things you might see at Guitar Center or on, and then put all of those companies and their staff in one place…major guitar and bass companies, like “Fender”, “D’Angelico”, “Martin”, “Taylor”, “Ampeg”, and then think of the rest of the band instruments – keyboards, drums, DJ equipment – “Korg”, “Roland”, “Roli”, “Pioneer”, “Gemini” and then throw in the music tech giants that make recording these instruments possible, like Shure and Blue (microphones), “IK Multimedia” (virtual instruments, iOS apps and portable recording accessories), Avid (Pro Tools recording software), Ableton (recording software), Solid State Logic (mixing consoles), and all of the backline, front of house equipment and legendary studio effects processors and preamps from companies like “Eventide” and “Presonus” (who also have mixers, speaker stacks, rack effects units, you name it). Basically, NAMM is one huge dog and pony show for the exhibitors/vendors to show off their new gear to the retailers/resellers for sales of new products, and the largest toy store any musician has ever seen where they can’t actually buy anything, just test it out and make relationships for future work to ensue. But the one thing you can’t sell and you might have missed from this whole paragraph was the word “relationships”. You can’t buy or sell those, and they are the most valuable thing you can gain from going to NAMM.

So, why do we go to NAMM as artists/producers/engineers/publicists? To build relationships, period. You know the old saying, “It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know?” Well, if you’re not making actual friends at NAMM and keeping them and working to keep them, you know – the kind of people who hold the same core values you do – integrity, business ethics, trust, compassion and just doing it for the love of the jam… you’re missing out on opportunities for A LOT of free artist promotions, gigs, gear, collaborations, endorsements, international publicity and more. And I’m not just talking about other musicians, these are the manufacturers’ artist relations reps, marketing directors, and sometimes owners of the companies who are the MVPs of your team.

After a few years of NAMM, you learn who the real players are, and who’s walking the walk. These are the guys doing the presentation demos on the exhibitors’ stages, getting in front of the cameras when asked to speak and play guitar/bass/keyboards/sing in front of USA Today, and then they go from zero to hero in Los Angeles because their first gig was on national TV from an exhibitor’s publicity gig. After a while, you also learn something very important, that you end up having a team of people looking out for your best interests. If you’re really talented, cool and keep a humble approach, and ALWAYS deliver on time, you could have a squad of 100+ people – a mix of manufacturer reps, other musicians, charity organizations and editorial who’ve “got your back” whenever you need something. And you will ALWAYS need something.

Jae Deal has been to NAMM as a working musician and producer for many years, here’s his take on what these NAMM relationships mean to him, and what NAMM really is for people like us – those looking to make a career out of music forever. (FYI- he had 9 badges for NAMM, starting with Fender as “Artist” and ending with‘s press badge as “On-Air Personality” – I’ll give you one guess which badge he wore for the entire show – insert “stoked emoji here”).

Here is Jae Deal’s video on Why do we go to NAMM? Relationships. Watch and Learn.

Jae Deal is an award-winning American composer and producer, who has worked with the likes of Janet Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Elton John, Queen Latifah and many, many more. Jae Deal has appeared as a public speaker for TEDx, and most of all, is an amazing friend, talented musician, and compassionate collaborator and confidant. For more information on Jae Deal, please visit his website.


~ by Starr Ackerman on February 5, 2018.

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