What would summer in Nashville be without high temps, sudden storms, and world-class music? This summer’s NAMM celebration in northern Tennessee had it all – sun, rain, all the greatest hits from the industry, plus fresh highlights that made it memorable. It also had a new building that added new excitement for attendees.


Every year, NAMM – the National Association of Music Merchants – hosts this combo conference that blends music retail education with an all-out rockin’ music festival. This year, there were a huge number of seminars focused specifically on digital music and the transformation taking place in the music industry.


Here’s a look at some of Octave Media’s favorite sessions and events, from the opening night party to the spectacular closing finish by some of the world’s greatest drummers.


The Seminars: Digital Music Retail is Hot

We hope you made it to some of the terrific seminars that highlighted what’s new for digital music retailers. Our main takeaway was that the music market isn’t cooling off at all, despite some reports to the contrary. It’s heating up – but only if you know how to take advantage of innovative new opportunities in web retail, social media, events, and more.


These were our top picks for the best seminars of the event. Which were your favorites?


Social Media and Online Marketing

Social media maven Jenn Herman discussed some in-depth strategies for online audience development. Any retailer who’s struggling with social media must have left this seminar with some new strategies to try right away.


Website and Google Checklist

This was a deep dive into the web and search strategies you can use to drive profitability for your business, led by energetic Eli | Rose owner Liz Jostes. We have many new additions to our web checklist, including ways to attract the attention of the ever-important Google.

5 Essential Strategies to Grow Your Lessons

Any retailer with a stagnant strategy for music lessons must have enjoyed this session. Melissa Loggins of Music Authority talked about the lessons learned in giving music lessons, and how optimism continues to fuel Music Authority’s plan for educating new musicians.

Instagram Tips to Drive Engagement, Traffic and Sales
This session was perfect for current Instagram users and novices alike. It was all about building audience and customer loyalty on a photo-driven platform that sometimes feels a bit overwhelming. Attendees got a great reminder that photos should be a big part of our business plans.


5 Tips for a Successful Website in an Amazon World

If the name Amazon gives you a headache, this was the session for you. We learned how to help our websites compete against the world’s biggest online retailer, and what their best practices teach us about the hearts and mind of music buyers.


Innovative Store Design Ideas From Top 100 Dealers

Some of NAMM’s Top 100 retailers shared insider tips on store design. It was a fascinating look into the layout and flow of some of the country’s most successful stores.


Facebook 2018: What Works Now, What Doesn’t

Don’t let anyone tell you Facebook is no longer a thing. Despite privacy controversy, it continues to gain market share around the world. This was a fast-paced look at Facebook dos and don’ts for music retailers.


The Most Dangerous Things Music Retailers Do

This session was an intriguing roundup of critical errors music retailers are currently making. It was refreshing to hear that mistakes don’t have to mean dire consequences for your business – they can be learning opportunities that thrust you forward.


Insider eBay Tips to Grow Your Business

This fast 30-minute Thursday afternoon seminar woke us up to the possibilities posed by eBay. Is your business using it to source and sell instruments? It should be.


How to Host Offsite Events That Grow Your Business
Audience, foot traffic, revenue … Every retailer wants these things, but needs new ways to find them. Offsite events, as we learned, are a great way to build new business. They draw new interest from all corners of your market.


Plan Summer Music Camps That Break the Mold

It felt like the right time to be talking about summer camp, since we were all basically at a big summer camp for adults. We learned how to develop summer camp programs that drive real revenue for music retailers.

7 Steps to Online Transformation

Friday’s breakfast session was a big wake-up call for digital marketers. Marketing thought leader Marcus Sheridan talked about strategies he’s seen working in the real world, with a focus on innovation and transformation.

5 YouTube Power Users and What You Can Learn From Them

We wouldn’t have recognized these 5 YouTube stars outside the web, so it was fascinating to see them gathered in one room. We learned how YouTube is a world unto itself, where opinion leaders build multi-million fan followings and are driving a music revolution.

The Secrets to Surviving the Tough Months
Sluggish months are the stuff of nightmares for music retailers. This session talked about how to cope when the cash register is silent, by adding innovations to your business that build year-round audience.


How to Create a Visual Identity on Instagram

Social marketing expert Ben Blakesley discussed how to create a brand identity on Instagram. It was a great follow-up to an earlier session about Instagram and reinforced how important visuals are to music retailers.


Game-Changing Gadgets and Apps for Musicians

Hey, we love some good music gadgets. It was an exciting 30-minute audio production session that showed some of the music apps and innovations customers want right now.


DIY Tips for Marketing and Social Media Success

Even the smallest retailer could find something in this session. It was full of low-budget DIY tips that allow better music marketing without high-dollar spending. We took away some nitty gritty strategies to try asap.



The Events: Celebrating and Educating

NAMM isn’t just about seminars – It’s also about coming together for a celebration of music. Did you see OK Go rock the stage? Did you stop by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus? There was a lot to see and hear. Let’s roll through some highlights.


Special Event: NAMM Opening Night Party – 35th Annual American Eagle Awards

The star-studded opening night party featured industry leaders and musicians from around the world. In front of a packed house, musicians took honors for their place in music history. Here’s the full list of American Eagle Award winners.


Technology Networking Reception

For tech experts, this was probably the highlight of NAMM. Instead of just listening to tech leaders speak, attendees chatted with them informally about industry questions and opinions during a huge networking event.


Special Event: NAMM YP Educational Session and Networking Reception
It is absolutely inspirational to hear the young voices of NAMM speak about the future of the industry. Although they were young, they brought fresh insights that show why they’re the new powerhouses of music retail. The highlight, of course, was the presentation by Crystal Morris, CEO of Gator Cases, who talked about being a female music entrepreneur and taking part in global efforts for music leadership.

Special Event: Top 100 Dealer Awards

It’s easy to see why they call it the “Retail Oscars,” because this event was full of the rock stars of music retail. These are people who have earned a top spot by learning hard lessons about the industry and succeeding despite roadblocks. Here’s the complete list of Top 100 Dealers.


Performance: World’s Fastest Drummer Finals

It’s always sad when Summer NAMM starts to wind down, but the World’s Fastest Drummer Finals created a heart-pounding finish. Travieon Graham took first place in hands and Ethan Houston took first place in feet, blowing everyone’s minds with their speed and dexterity.


It was great to see everyone at Summer NAMM, and we’ll see you at another NAMM event in the future. Here’s the full schedule of NAMM events to explore, and stop by the Octave Media blog for year-round help with music retail marketing.