Why NAMM decided to take the annual event online: The story behind Believe in Music Week

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Ever since NAMM announced that they would be hosting a virtual event instead of the traditional winter show in January, we have had a few questions about how they came to make the decision. So we contacted Betty Heywood, Director of International Affairs, and she very kindly agreed to give MIAnews the lowdown…

In this interview, the MIA’s General Manager Alice finds out; what kind of cross-section of attendees Believe in Music Week might present, how the event will represent and incorporate the core NAMM pillars, how NAMM can even begin to replicate the incredible NAMM Show experience and more.

A: Can you tell us a bit about what has driven the journey to creating Believe in Music Week?

B: In the summer, it became very clear that with rising infection numbers in so many places around the world that we couldn’t bring the NAMM family together safely in Anaheim in January 2021.

So, the NAMM team got to work, listening to member feedback, and set out to bring an experience which would encapsulate those valuable networking opportunities, education and training, and brand experiences found at The NAMM Show, which resulted in Believe in Music: the online, global gathering to unite and support the people who bring music to the world.

Our goal with Believe in Music week is to look to the future success of our members and the industry and help propel everyone into 2021 with new products, professional training, and the fun, networking comradery of the Hilton bar through our main station, Believe TV. Along with this, and recognising the impact of COVID on all facets of the industry, the week will also serve as a fundraiser for the NAMM Foundation, and the NAMM Foundation’s grantees. These include the UK’s own Music for All charity and many other organisations across the globe and in the USA.

A: How do you even begin to replicate the incredible NAMM experience with a virtual gathering? 

B: Believe in Music Week won’t be replicating the NAMM Show – It can’t! Anyone who’s been knows how unique it is. As we’re finding out, virtual events cannot replace that particular dynamic and emotional involvement that takes place when people get together.  But what we are going to do is celebrate the people involved in music and provide valuable business opportunities for the community –  whether that’s musicians, touring professionals, hobbyists, manufacturers, dealers, teachers or non-profits, in a weeklong, truly global gathering that looks at new products, offers networking, concerts, education and much more. NAMM being NAMM, we’re going to make sure that it will be inspirational, instructional, and fun.

A: How might the virtual setting and presentation of Believe in Music Week present a better cross-section of attendees from the MI industry? 

B: The NAMM Show is always attended by an excellent cross-section of attendees from both the global MI, pro audio,and entertainment technology industries, as well as thousands of artists, GenNext attendees, music educators, non-profits, and others. Now, without travel, time, and cost constraints, members and industry professionals will be able to access the online offering for free, with special access areas and features reserved exclusively for members and media.  

A: Do you think NAMM might use the virtual platform going forward for future online events, or even for a possible hybrid in person/virtual version of The NAMM Show? 

B: Yes, to all of the above.  I think like many associations, this crisis has brought our team and the music community closer, sharing and working together to make sure that music remains a vital part of our humanity, perhaps something that is seemingly more important than ever… and while being able to connect virtually has been wonderful, it is not a replacement for the amazing family reunion that occurs at The NAMM Show.

A: How will NAMM be incorporating your brilliant education programme ‘NAMM U’ into Believe in Music Week? 

B: The teams in Carlsbad have been putting together an amazing schedule of events – servicing all aspects of our varied industries. There’ll be NAMM U sessions similar to what’s happening at the Idea Center at our shows, held by leading people from the industry. There’ll be TEC Tracks sessions for the pro audio communities which will bring together heavy hitters from production, recording, developing and research. There’ll be sessions put on by our partners in the live sectors such as ESTA and Plasa. In addition, we will have many hours of sessions for music educators and music learners, as well as an online version of our GenNext program, with curated content for the next generation of young people eager to get into the music and live events industry. So all the educational elements that you’d see at the shows we will offer online. It’ll be different, but equally valuable, and accessible to a wider group of attendees.

A: How will the event represent and incorporate the core NAMM pillars? 

B: People come to the NAMM Show for these things: products, networking, and education. Believe in Music Week’s platform will replicate all three of these: Brands will show new products on their brand pages, the unique platform chosen will offer excellent networking opportunities including AI matchmaking and we have hundreds of educational and inspirational sessions scheduled. In addition, people also come to be entertained, and we have a great line up of well-known and up and coming artists from around the world contributing music, many of whom are creating specific content for Believe in Music week, supported by NAMM Members across the globe.

A: Tell us in one sentence why you should attend Believe in Music Week 2020? 

B: Nothing focuses the mind like a hard and fast deadline, right? The NAMM Show usually is that deadline for our industries – ready or not, that week in January will roll up and if you’re not part of it, or your product isn’t ready …. But just because we can’t be together in person doesn’t mean that the year 2021 should start any differently – quite the opposite, the fact that we cannot get together face to face means we all have to work a little harder on staying engaged, becoming involved, and getting the best information and education available. Similar to the NAMM Show, we are positive that Believe in Music Week will send people into the new year inspired and ready for the next year.

Want to know more?  

We have partnered up with NAMM to bring you an exclusive webinar that will take you through the unique experience of Believe in Music Week and how you can attend.

We invite you to join Causby Challacombe (NAMM’s Membership Director) and Andre Brousseau (NAMM’s Membership Support Specialist) on Wednesday 16th December at 4pm. 

Register here

Believe in Music will be held over the week of 18th January, 2021.

Register for Free: https://attend.believeinmusic.tv/

NAMM Member Access: https://www.namm.org/attendbelieve

Get Involved: https://www.namm.org/support/believe-in-music-week