The Mac made an impressive return at last week’s NAMM show. NAMM is the International Music Products Association, the organization that coordinates and supports the music retail business. They hold two shows a year, including one in Anaheim, CA (the site of last week’s expo) and one in Nashville, TN.
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For several years (especially 1996 through 2000), there was a very definite shift from the Mac OS to Windows at the shows, according to David Barrett, CEO of R/com Network, which develops eLearning environments for a wide range of applications, and helps produce NAMM University Online. While many manufacturers have always felt that Windows was important from a purely sales-related perspective, when Gil Amelio was CEO at Apple, many companies felt there was no future in Mac development, he told MacCentral.
At this year’s show, the Mac was very visible, notably the Titanium PowerBook. VST and DigiDesign, two of the largest software publishers for composition and mixing, featured several Macs in their booths. Pro Tools/HD was featured with the Mac, as were other applications. Bias showed each of their products running on Macs.
“Tascam had the Mac very much front and center and, in fact, many manufacturers who were selling things like sheet music and instrument bags had Macs in their booths to draw attention,” Barrett said. “Last Friday, just while walking about, I counted 97 Macs on display and that covered only about a third of the hall. Granted, I was in the Pro Audio side of the building where more Macs would be on display. However, Macs were visible throughout the show.”
Naturally, Windows solutions were also in abundance. Most amateurs who have entered the music industry recently have done so with Windows solutions, although there’s no good “feature” or “capability” purpose or reason for them to do so, Barrett said.
“For me, the key was that companies who offered solutions for both platforms where once again featuring the Mac,” he added. “Mackie Designs and several other companies offer proprietary software that runs in hardware they sell, so the Mac OS is out for them. Mackie in particular offers some powerful solutions in Mackie branded hardware.”
So why didn’t Apple itself have a stronger presence at the show.
“Although there was a regional presence supposedly (though I could never find them), Apple did not have a large booth on the floor,” Barrett said. “However, with all of the Macs lying about, it didn’t really matter at this stage of the game. Based on the growth of the Mac and the expansion of Apple retail centers, it begins to make sense for Apple to appear at next year’s show. After all, audio is 50 percent of almost any video project.”
For more on Mac OS X at NAMM, see David Leishman’s NAMM roundup article at the Working Mac Web site.