Greetings from NAMM 2013: diving into a wild world of mixers, faders, and endless customization
Trent Wolbe explores the floors of the music merchant industry’s biggest convention
Every year around this time the National Association of Music Merchants hosts an “industry-only” exposition at the Anaheim Convention Center. While other conferences maintain an air of stuffy exclusivity, NAMM prides itself on bringing its end users into the fold. Sure, there are regional sales representatives all over the place, but they look more like Jimmy Buffett than his square bro Warren. The majority of NAMM’s attendees in 2013 seem to be the humbly iconic riff-raff with “artist” badges: leather-clad axe gods, pimply gauged-lobed So-Cal post-pop-punk skins slayers, and aspiring divas in distressed graphic tees from the Juniors section at Target. I love them all: it’s a portrait of a passionate and un-jaded America that I rarely see anywhere else. Especially not on the internet.
"If the iPod is only the world’s most badass MP3 player then I don’t know if I’m really going to stand in line to buy it, I have a CD walkman and a burner already."
"Music and movie companies have a long history of challenging how new technologies transmit or duplicate their copyrighted material. In the 1980s, for instance, Universal Studios sued Sony Corp. about development of VHS tapes. The Supreme Court eventually decided in favor of Sony and ruled that making individual copies of TV shows for personal use did not amount to a copyright violation. ReDigi’s case will determine how some of those same legal principles apply in the Internet era, said Rick Sanders, a Nashville copyright and intellectual property attorney who works with both technology and entertainment companies. “This court is going to have to make a decision that no other court has had to make,” he said."
Music to Our Ears: How Headphones Changed Our World
If you are reading this on a computer, there is a 50% chance that you are wearing, or are within arm’s reach of, a pair of headphones or earbuds.
To visit a modern office place is to walk into a room with a dozen songs playing simultaneously but to hear none of them. Up to half of workers listen to music on their headphones, and the vast majority thinks it makes us better at our jobs. In survey after survey, we report with confidence that music makes us happier, better at concentrating, and more productive.
Science says we’re full of it. Listening to music hurts our ability to recall other stimuli, and any pop song — loud or soft — reduces overall performance for both extraverts and introverts. A Taiwanese study linked music with lyrics to lower scores on concentration tests for college students, and other research have shown music with words scrambles our brains’ verbal-processing skills. “As silence had the best overall performance it would still be advisable that people work in silence,” one report dryly concluded.
If headphones are so bad for productivity, why do so many people at work have headphones? And why are our bosses letting us drive ourselves to distraction?