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Mixed Industry Economic News As 2009 Winter NAMM Show Approaches

Show attendance and exhibitors both expected down slightly this year, but there are some bright spots.

All is not gloom and doom with respect to the music merchant industry’s current economic outlook in the view of NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond, who today (January 7) hosted a pre-Winter ‘09 NAMM Show conference call with industry trade media.

The annual Winter NAMM Show kicks off next Thursday (January 15) at the Anaheim (California) Convention Center.

“What I’ve heard in discussions with many of our members is that they’re weathering the current economic storm,” Lamond said. “No one is happy, particularly with the fourth quarter (of 2008), but the general consensus is that the business climate wasn’t as bad as it could have been.”

Attendance for Winter NAMM ‘09 is estimated at this point to be down by one percent in comparison to last year’s show, which Lamond pointed out generated a record attendance figure. The total number of exhibitors and total exhibit space will both be about five percent less this year than in 2008. Still, the total number of exhibitors this year will be about 1,500.

Lamond attributed the exhibitor decline primarily to fewer China-based companies on the show floor. Further, the piano segment of the industry continues to struggle.

However, he also pointed to some bright spots, such as sales of school band instruments increasing by about four percent, and if reports of projected increases in (U.S.) government spending indeed come to pass, Lamond expects that figure to remain solid and perhaps grow.

Lamond also noted that there has been a recent surge in attendee registrations for the upcoming show, which runs January 15-18, and all available hotel reservations booked via NAMM are now sold out.

“The overall mantra of the 2009 Winter NAMM show is that people in this industry are looking to get together, talk things over, share ideas, and collectively seek new direction,” he said.

More about the 2009 Winter NAMM show here.

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