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#23716 - 12/26/06 09:29 AM Should NAMM be open to the public?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
Not sure if this topic has been discussed at length in the past? I presume it has but I don't think recently.

With the piano industry undergoing such change and generally not for the better in terms of growth, could it help?

I would be interesting in hearing all the arguments for and against.

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#23717 - 12/26/06 09:52 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Steve Cohen Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10338
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
It is impossible.

As is, it is very crowded and difficult to conduct business. Most exhibitors simply can't handle the volume of clients and interested dealerships. It is also very difficult to evaluate products in the chaotic atmospere of Winter NAMM. Further, hotels and restaurants are full. Adding the public would compromise the entire show.
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Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
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Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#23718 - 12/26/06 10:08 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
Steve

I hear you and I know very little about NAMM. On the other hand there is an annual electronics show open to the public and auto and boat shows. I am sure that there have to be conferences that are are larger than NAMM with infrustructures able to support the throngs.

Again I'm not supporting such an event just curious if there is even interest in change or an additional event.

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#23719 - 12/26/06 10:26 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Well, the American Economic Association meetings this year are in Chicago next week. Ya'll can stop by if you want. ;\)

Actually, you can't, unless you pay a hefty registration fee.
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#23720 - 12/26/06 10:37 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Jazzmandave Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/27/04
Posts: 154
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I think it would be cool if Sundays were open to the public. I seem to remember they used to be years ago.
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#23721 - 12/26/06 10:40 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
Funny you should mention Economics P*D. Interesting article in the latest issue of The Economist. This once 'dismal' science has found virtue in trying to measure pleasure and happiness. Perhaps you should play something inspiring for them and see if it changes their outward behavior. \:D

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#23722 - 12/26/06 11:20 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
VGrantano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 771
Loc: New Jersey
I posted to the thread above about Public day at NAMM. This is sort of what I said. The music show in Germany has a public day, It's a disaster.
Spilled soda and beer, theft, cans and cups placed on instrument and furniture, Fights and arguments when Factory people would not tell wholsale prices. I once saw that get ugly. Expensive lititure being taken and discarded in parking lot.
It gets pretty tireing trying to get enough time to talk to dealers and prospects. Add to that the social obligations in the evenings. I think adding another day to it would put most of us over the top.

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#23723 - 12/26/06 11:29 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
VGrantano,

Why wouldn't the piano industry want a big public event? Every other "hobby" has one and the challenges you and Steve Cohen mentioned are not unique.

Is something fundamentally different about pianos and other instruments that makes a public event less desirable or not helpful for promoting sales?

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#23724 - 12/26/06 11:34 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
One difference that may be relevant, fathertopianist, is that families tend to buy either 0 or 1 piano in their lifetimes. Hence the cost-benefit ratio of opening NAMM to the public would be, I suspect, very low... they get all the pain in the butt stuff of spilled beer etc. with very very little payoff. I suspect most people who show up would be either (a) dedicated hobbyists like us who would take up an enormous amount of salespersons' time but are not in the market, or (b) curious lookie-loos who end up not buying either. At least at consumer electronics shows, there's a good chance that most of the people attending will buy or upgrade their TVs etc. in the very near future.
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#23725 - 12/26/06 11:40 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
Monica

Really good point. But what if that same person who owned a grand piano might be convinced to also have an electronic piano and also SW/devises for composing music, recording music etc...Is it possible that there is plenty of add-on market and expand the vision of what it means to own a piano?

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#23726 - 12/26/06 11:40 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Casalborgone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 1046
Loc: San Francisco Area
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
One difference that may be relevant, fathertopianist, is that families tend to buy either 0 or 1 piano in their lifetimes...I suspect most people who show up would be either (a) dedicated hobbyists like us who would take up an enormous amount of salespersons' time but are not in the market, or (b) curious lookie-loos who end up not buying either.[/b]
Yes, this is just common sense. And, if someone not in the business is really, really serious about schmoozing the piano thang, there is always a way to get into a show through personal connections to people in the biz.
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#23727 - 12/26/06 11:56 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
VGrantano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 771
Loc: New Jersey
Mike your right, and that is a whole other thread. NAMM has been trying for years to police it. Thats how the visitor badge came into being.
You knew not to talk to them about prices. And of course they would take offence.
Monica, your 100% right on all points.
Also one other thing, we've all seen threads by furomites about their shopping,and the badmouthing about dealers that show the pianos unserviced. No mater how much the factories spend at NAMM on service, the pianos just are not raeady for the public. Dealers understand this.

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#23728 - 12/26/06 12:14 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Piano World Offline


Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5527
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (originally N...
I used to think opening it up to the public for one day would be a good idea, until I atteneded a couple of shows.

The manufacturers/vendors/suppliers spend a huge amount of time and money on the show (as do the attendees):

Expenses[/b]
Transporting Products (ever try to ship a dozen or so pianos accross the country?)
Renting Space in the show (it ain't cheap)
Hotels, food, etc.
Brochures
People (their employees)
Plane tickets
Cabs

Time[/b]
They often arrive a couple days before the show begins, and stay a day or two after.
During the time they are at the show, they work very long days, on their feet the entire time.

As others have mentioned, the exhibitors start early, and work on into the late evening (shmoozing their bigger clients)

Goals[/b]
Because of the time and expense involved, exhibitors want to maximize their time.

They want to talk to dealers who are hopefully buying dozens (if not hundreds) of products at a shot (not "maybe" one).

As it is, thousands of people attend the show, so the exhibitors are always busy, trying to get to everyone (and not offend anyone).

Personally, because I'm such a small "dealer" (see www.PianoSupplies.com), I try not to waste their time. I simply introduce myself, grab some literature, and take a self-guided tour.

Some piano people do want to chat with me a little, because of Piano World (and these forums), and I'm happy to talk to them. But I still get out of the way if they get the opportunity to talk to someone who actually wants to place an order (which means a dealer who by the way, also spent time and money to attend the show).

Not The Best Setting[/b]
NAMM is not the best place to hear/try instruments. The exhibit halls are cavernous with hundreds of vendors displaying/playing/demonstrating their wares right next to each other.
It's nearly impossible to hear what you are playing.

Some Day?[/b]
Maybe some day there could be a separate show organized for the public, but I'm not sure how it would be set up so that it was profitable for all involved.
Keep in mind, NAMM is for wholesalers, not for direct sale to the public. They don't want to compete with their own dealer/store networks.

To sell to the public, you would have to have a dealer/store network. How do you choose which store(s) get to participate, based on what criteria?

NAMM 2007[/b]
All that said, if you are going to be at NAMM 2007 in Anaheim, please see this thread ...
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/16297.html
\:\)
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#23729 - 12/26/06 01:27 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Jeffrey L. Wong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 55
Loc: The Woodlands
NAMM should never allow general public to its trade shows.

It's for manfucturers and retailers.
All the lookie loos will distract that process.
_________________________
Jeffrey L. Wong
Forshey Piano Company - The Woodlands
281-681-3000
know pianos I do...feel the force

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#23730 - 12/26/06 02:42 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1549
I think Piano World members should be allowed..
the Philadelphia Flower Show operates this way..
members of the Penna. Horticulture Society get a private showing..before the general public...

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#23731 - 12/26/06 04:28 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
Just curious what some of you would hope to find out at NAMM?
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Former Piano Industry Professional
************
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************
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#23732 - 12/26/06 04:42 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
That's a good question. I certainly wouldn't want to do any serious evaluation of, say, tier 1 instruments if every other note was blasted by people testing electric guitars at the next stall.

But this leads to the next question. What do industry players who may buy 20 pianos at a pop really learn from the displays either? The pianos apparently aren't prepped well and they too would find making reasonable comparisons of models difficult in a cacaphony. Fit and finish can be inspected for sure, and conversation (if you can hear the person speaking to you over the apparent din) is useful, but what really takes place that facilitates commerce?

Pardon this question from someone who has never trafficked in the raw material of music making!

Cheers,

DF
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#23733 - 12/26/06 04:52 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
USAPianoTrucker,

It just seemed to me that manufacturers in many verticals have annual shows and wondered why there wasn't one for the music industry. I assume people go to these shows to see the newest products, browse amongst a wider variety of products and without dealer intervention, be entertained, gain knowledge etc...

It's not a big deal to me, just a curiousity. Doesn't seem practical or feasible though based on the input above. Other industries must benefit from it but apparently it's not a good idea for music (probably based on the expense/time involved versus the potential gain).
I assume if it were a good idea it would have been done already.

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#23734 - 12/26/06 05:11 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
VGrantano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 771
Loc: New Jersey
Piano dad, I beg to differ, thousands of dollars are spent prepping the pianos. And it never stops throughout the show. But because of the conditions, Air condition,humidity,poundings, etc. I just would not feel comfortable showing them to end users.
Dealers know what pianos sound like. They are there to learn more about the brands they carry
(and re-order)or learn how diferant brands would fit into their marketing plans (and order). See what deals are going to be offered to them this year (and order). See what the competition is showing. Oh, and place a very large order with their supplier.This is not a hobby.

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#23735 - 12/26/06 05:29 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10338
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by VGrantano:
Piano dad, I beg to differ, thousands of dollars are spent prepping the pianos. And it never stops throughout the show. But because of the conditions, Air condition,humidity,poundings, etc. I just would not feel comfortable showing them to end users.
Dealers know what pianos sound like. They are there to learn more about the brands they carry
(and re-order)or learn how diferant brands would fit into their marketing plans (and order). See what deals are going to be offered to them this year (and order). See what the competition is showing. Oh, and place a very large order with their supplier.This is not a hobby. [/b]
And Vince, don't forget that the main purpose of the show is to accepts orders. ;\) ;\)

Stop up and see me. I'll be based in the Samick booth.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#23736 - 12/26/06 05:31 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Vince,

I stand corrected. For some reason I thought I remembered one of the dealers here saying that pianos at NAMM were not thoroughly prepped. I can't find it now. [edit: chuckle, chuckle ...it was you, Vince, who said the pianos aren't ready for the public, which led me to my incorrect extrapolation! ;\) ]

The question still remains ...can you guys really make fine distinctions between makes and models at NAMM with all that stuff going on around you? Is the personal touch of talking with the so-and-so rep more important than actually sampling the merchandise, and if so is the expense of maintaining all that hardware throughout the show largely a response to an arms race ....i.e. if Bechstein brings a dozen pianos then Schimmel and Yamaha and etc etc all feel compelled to put on huge displays too.
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#23737 - 12/26/06 06:18 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Jeffrey L. Wong Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/04/05
Posts: 55
Loc: The Woodlands
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
That's a good question. I certainly wouldn't want to do any serious evaluation of, say, tier 1 instruments if every other note was blasted by people testing electric guitars at the next stall.

[/b]
Just FYI...NAMM booths are set up according to Industry specifics...Guitars would never be next to Pianos.

You may find some smaller piano co. next to band instruments. but all the big boys have their own levels or even hotel conference rooms.
_________________________
Jeffrey L. Wong
Forshey Piano Company - The Woodlands
281-681-3000
know pianos I do...feel the force

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#23738 - 12/26/06 06:19 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Keith D Kerman Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3249
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
Vince,

I stand corrected. For some reason I thought I remembered one of the dealers here saying that pianos at NAMM were not thoroughly prepped. I can't find it now. [edit: chuckle, chuckle ...it was you, Vince, who said the pianos aren't ready for the public, which led me to my incorrect extrapolation! ;\) ]

The question still remains ...can you guys really make fine distinctions between makes and models at NAMM with all that stuff going on around you? Is the personal touch of talking with the so-and-so rep more important than actually sampling the merchandise, and if so is the expense of maintaining all that hardware throughout the show largely a response to an arms race ....i.e. if Bechstein brings a dozen pianos then Schimmel and Yamaha and etc etc all feel compelled to put on huge displays too. [/b]
The pianos at NAMM are generally in dreadful prep, with a very few exceptions.

It is very hard to tell how good a piano is performing at the NAMM show. You can tell about many aspects of the quality of the instrument's build. And if you have enough experience, you can have some idea of the instruments potential.

With all of that, I generally insist on having companies that want me to carry their pianos, regardless of price, ship me examples of what I may buy with no obligation to me. It takes us time to really get to know what a piano can do. Sometimes a surprising amount. The willingness of the manufacturer to do this also tells me a lot about how much they believe in their product, and if they are looking for a great long term relationship with me, or just a few quick sales.
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PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
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#23739 - 12/26/06 06:42 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10338
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Let me help answer some of the questions.

Some really important things happen at the show:

1. Dealers get to see models, styles and finishes that they don't carry. This better enables them to tell their customers about them.

2. Dealers get to meet, face-to-face, executives, "pions", and those in between that they talk to on the phone often. It allows us to establish a more personal relationship, putting a face and a personality with the "voice on the phone".

3. Dealers can often see prototypes, and new models, and feedback opinions.

4. There are generally "specials" offered, and if you need to make "an offer in negotiation", the head honchos are there to say yea or nay. Many decisions made by pianos dealerships at the show involve millions of dollars.

5. It is a great opportunity to meet non-competing dealerships that carry the same brands and swap ideas and "war stories".

6. Just walking each row from one end of the show (Hall E) to the other takes about 5-6 hours. In that time you can basically see every new product, every new vendor, as well as almost every product carried by music dealerships worldwide. Dealers have the opportunity to evaluate everything to determine if they think it is right for their market, and to set up an account and order the new items.

Here's another perspective:

I'm a full-line dealership. That means we carry not only pianos, but guitars, all the band and orchestral instruments and associated accessories. It took me the 3 of the 4 days just to keep appointments to see the vendors I do business with. In a typical show I would meet with Samick, Petrof, Kawai, PianoDisc, Young Chang, Hammond, Fender, Peavey, Roland, St. Louis Music, Kaman, LeBlanc, Jansen, House of Troy, and a dozen or so quick meetings with smaller vendors.In a typical show I would commit to spending $300,000-$500,000.

Believe me, I came home exhausted!!!

(BTW, I now have others who do much of the legwork for me as I work at the show as a consultant. This year, as last year, I will be working with Samick.)

If I had to "compete" with the general public for time and attention, I'd have to kill them all...one at a time!!!!
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#23740 - 12/26/06 07:19 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
 Quote:
If I had to "compete" with the general public for time and attention, I'd have to kill them all...one at a time!!!!
Uh, well, that's a pretty good reason for me to avoid NAMM. I'll let ftp sneak in instead . ;\)

I'm now thoroughly confused about how much care and attention is lavished on prep. I guess the common ground between Vince and Keith is that the pianos aren't consumer ready and do not perform to their potential at NAMM, which is another good reason for consumer types to avoid it (even if we were invited). On the other hand, not every dealer keeps their pianos well prepped in the showroom. ;\)
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#23741 - 12/26/06 07:47 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
U S A P T Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/20/06
Posts: 1645
Loc: An Indiana University
The The NAMM show isn't a "show." It's a convention. I think that's the first part where people get confused.

Being a convention, hotel rooms are scarce months before -- FOR MILES. Restaurants are packed and reserved out weeks in advance. Parking is a major challenge too. All the best dinners and parties are invitation-only and are also planned out months in advance. With Disneyland right across the street you get a double-whammy on parking and rooms on the weekend.

The show's purpose is strategic to the industry as opposed to being an attraction, like a car show.

But it IS a convention. Imagine the National Association of Realtor's Annual Convention in Las Vegas. Now add buyers and sellers. Confusing? Probably.

Imagine a music concert featuring the biggest names in classical music, rock and pop all in one giant venue. Now imagine giving everyone a backstage pass.

Mayhem.

It's not a show and not designed like one, hence the term NAMM show is misleading.
_________________________
Full-Time Music/Entrepreneurship Major: (Why not compose music AND businesses?)
Former Piano Industry Professional
************
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Roland Atelier AT90R
************
All Posts are Snarky Unless Otherwise Noted
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#23742 - 12/26/06 10:43 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
seebechstein Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/04
Posts: 1085
Loc: houston
I think this "show" isn't about pianos but is just a big boondoggle that qualifies as a tax deduction.

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#23743 - 12/27/06 11:00 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10338
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by seebechstein:
I think this "show" isn't about pianos but is just a big boondoggle that qualifies as a tax deduction. [/b]
That is absurd.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#23744 - 12/27/06 11:37 AM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
LisztAddict Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/12/05
Posts: 2895
Loc: Florida
In my fields of work, I go to AHR (Air conditioning, Heating, and Refrigerating) Expo and Interbike almost every year. These are exposition/trade shows/industry shows where manufacturers/dealers/distributors/consultants come to display/learn about the new products. They are not open to the general public either.

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#23745 - 12/27/06 03:27 PM Re: Should NAMM be open to the public?
AJB Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/05
Posts: 3655
Loc: Surrey, England
This thread carries an interesting dealer perspective.

However, the general trend seems to be that the acoustic piano industry is struggling in many parts of the world.

In the end dealers need to shift more pianos and the people who buy them are the general public and institutions.

So, although NAMM may not be the forum for the general public, perhaps it may be worth the industry re-evaluating whether a piano event aimed at the public may be a good idea?

I have been a keen guitarist for a good many years and a collector of mainly vintage guitars for several years. Although I am not a dealer I do get invited to guitar and amp trade shows on trade only days and have seen at first hand the difference in civility between trade and public days. So I sympathise with that view point. But I have seen a heck of a lot of guitars sold on public days (and don't assume that this is just sales of instruments worth a few hundred dollars. Top flight guitars can be seriously expensive).

So, I do wonder if FTP in fact has a very good point when he started this thread. Is there a tangible forum that dealers can exploit that will help to revitalise this industry?

Kind regards

Adrian
_________________________
S&S Hamburg D, Yamaha CLP 280


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