I just returned from the NAMM show and had a very good time there. After an absence last year, coming back to the show gave me some new perspectives and impressions.
NAMM remains the best show for music and it is an incredible experience. All of you should experience it sometime.
We did not have many things to announce. As many of you know, I made a promise not to make any official announcements before we ship. We hoped to have things ready for shipping by now, but Murphy's Law always operates in software.
The one new library is a GPO version for the Yamaha Motif. The Motif is the standard keyboard in the industry and Yamaha helped bring this library to their popular keyboard. I can't believe how well GPO is doing after more than seven years after its initial release (normally products last 2-3 years). And people were asking for GPO demos at the show as much as any other library.
We were showing the recently released World Instruments library and the upcoming Steinway Model B library. The Steinway B and the new enhancements sound great. Kudos to Jeff! We also did select showings of a Pipe Organ library we're working on.
Jim (Haydn) and Jeff Hurchalla helped out at the booth. Max from Plogue was also there and helped out (Max is one cool guy). Many thanks for the outstanding job they did. We also shared our booth with PG Music, the creators of Band-in-a-Box. They are a wonderful company run by some good people.
At the show we took care of business (which is a main reason we attend). We talked to our distributors. It's always good to see the people who work so hard for us during the year. More companies and retailers were interested in offering our downloadable products and we discussed ways to allow retailers to participate.
We also spoke to many of our partners, strengthened old alliances and forged new ones. It looks like we may be bundling our sounds with more company's products in the coming year.
We talked to a few companies about the Giga assets. Things have not gone as fast or as well as we hoped with Giga. Some companies have expressed interest in acquiring some or all of those assets from us and we are seriously considering this. We're exploring a few other options as well.
I noticed some emerging trend at the NAMM show:
The Disappearance of the Big
Sometimes you can judge a show, not only by who is there, but who is absent. Ableton, Apple (Logic/Garageband), Propellerheads, East West, Notion, and others were not exhibiting at the show. Other companies which previously had an independent large presence were relegated to kiosks tucked into their parent company's or distributors's booths (Cakewalk/Roland, Sibelius/Avid, VSL/Illi). Smaller companies were well represented. With the large trees no longer there or consolidated, it seems the smaller trees had more room and sunlight to grow in the NAMM forest.
iPads,& iPhones, & tablets - Oh My!
It seems a big theme of the show was the iPad and iPhone. They were everywhere. iPad controllers, iPad interfaces for gear and guitars, iPad instruments, iPhone pedal replacements, iPad notation readers, iPad music apps, etc. With over 100 new tablets announced last week at CES, I expect next year will witness a flood of tablets and devices at NAMM. Perhaps this trend towards diminuative devices may somehow be related to the extinction of the big.
Enter the Dragon
There was quite a presence of Chinese companies and products. Several Chinese companies approached me about licensing sounds for their products. It seems there were many more booths representing Chinese firms. Even at the MIDI Manufacturing Association a Chinese delegation spoke about MIDI standards. Time to learn Mandarin?
The show seems to have been more serious this year. Security was a bit tighter than two years ago. You had to show ID everytime you entered a Hall, bags checked when you left, and when you went to another location only to wait on line and show ID again. I spent more time on lines and I am hoping we won't need to go through full body scanners to enter NAMM next year. Speaking of security, piracy seems to have been on a few developers' minds.
I did not have a chance to see everything at the show, so most likely I missed something earth shattering. It was good to see many of you there and thanks to those who took the time to visit us. And thanks also to those expressed their concern for Marianne. She is doing much better.
Interesting technological twists, new partners, even wider distribution, strengthened relationships, seeing many friends and forum members - the show could not have gone any better.
I am looking forward to next year's show!
Yours in music,