Artist Relations 2014 NAMM Recap

A couple of weeks ago, and for the first time that I can remember, The NAMM® Show (National Association of Music Merchants) was held at the same time as the GRAMMYs. Everyone knows what the GRAMMYs are all about, but The NAMM Show, held in January each year, is one of the most important trade shows in our industry because it is one of the two largest music product trade shows in the world. Manufacturers typically use The NAMM Show to showcase their latest and greatest as well as their existing products. This year Shure featured the GLX-D®Digital Wireless Guitar Pedal System and the “wow face” inducing SE846 Sound Isolating™ Earphones.  If you play guitar, or love listening to music, you have to check these out.

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The new products, prizes and the famed free Shure t-shirt typically do an amazing job of attracting people to the booth every year. The Artist Relations team also plays an important role in supporting Shure by showcasing Shure’s extensive family of endorsers via booth pictures, videos, special appearances and autograph signings. Nothing shows the quality and reliability of our products better than the pros who use them. It’s no wonder why you saw so many Shure microphones at the GRAMMYs. Other responsibilities of the Artist Relations team at NAMM is to greet all artists that visit the booth, demo all of our new gear for them, and field all endorsement inquiries.

That’s usually what is done with the entire team on deck but due to the GRAMMYs being held on the same week this year we had to split up the band in order to be at both important places at once. My colleagues Cory and Ryan covered the GRAMMYS while I was the lone wolf covering NAMM. And although it was a busy week for many in the industry we still got some pretty well known friends to stop by and say hello and to demo Shure’s newest offerings. For me the hit of the show was seeing everyone’s reaction to the SE846. Steven Tyler, Jason Mraz, Chris Isaak and many others all demoed them at our booth. It was so cool to see Jason Mraz’s reaction after he connected his iPhone to them, bopped his head for a few minutes while he listened to a song, that according to him, he’s heard over a thousand times recently. He said something to the affect of it sounding like it sounds through some very expensive studio speakers. Awesome! Aside from all the activity at the booth, the evenings at NAMM can be very interesting to say the least. If loud music, drinks, and people watching is your thing, and somehow you have any energy left after a long day on the trade show floor, I highly recommend the Hilton Lobby after show hours. Don’t forget your earplugs!

NAMM is definitely crazy exciting, and you get to meet a lot of great people, but the evening is where the truly interesting happens. And one of the most interesting things that I have been a part of so far happened this last trip to NAMM. Our endorser Alice Cooper invited me and a couple of colleagues to a private party at a high school auditorium where he was to perform with Johnny Depp. The thought of hearing him perform “School’s Out” in an actual school auditorium was interesting enough but then you add Johnny Depp on guitar… OK, that seemed like something I wanted to see for myself. Little did we know that Marilyn Manson and Steven Tyler were going to show up and perform some of their hits as well. Here is a video of all four of them covering The Beatles’ “Come Together” that I found on YouTube. That will definitely go down as one of the most memorable NAMM experiences for me.

Hope to see you at NAMM next year. Let’s see if we can top this experience…

Nelson Arreguin

Member of the Shure Artist Relations team. Music dilettante & sneaker aficionado. Live music is his favorite diversion.

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