NAMM 2022 - The biggest music trade show

The Music Trade Show Guide 2022

Following nearly two years of cancellations, uncertainty and online-based exhibiting, 2022 looks set to be the year where the in-person music trade show makes a heroic comeback. Whether you’re a business unsure of what to attend this year or if you’re an individual just wanting to build out a roadmap of what’s on when, we’ve got the perfect guide for you…

NAMM 2022 - The biggest music trade show

Few attendees realised, when leaving the NAMM floor at the culmination of January 2020’s record-breaking show, that they were walking out of the last major trade event that they would be attending for the next two years. A scant two months later, Covid’s inescapable shadow forced the international music trade show – and any indoor gathering with those outside of your household, for that matter – to be comprehensively put on hold.

Reeling from the shock that this constituent cog of the commercial machinery had suddenly been removed, we saw many companies scrabble to provide a feasible virtual alternative (and keep those critical product release schedules in place!). While some of these online-versions of trade exhibitions demonstrated true ingenuity, and also provided the comfort of being able to *attend* from your own home, that vital face-to-face connectivity was sadly missed by many.

While the remainder of 2020 was spent locked behind closed doors, baking bread and partaking in endless Zoom quizzes, 2021 saw a trepidatious, partial comeback of a small range of in-person shows. Yet major industry staples, such as Winter NAMM and South by Southwest, remained frustratingly out of bounds.

Trade Show floor

Thankfully, 2022 has got off to a rollocking start, with January’s CES show reminding us of the value of bringing manufacturers, media and consumers together within a physical space. 2022 is also set to welcome those heavyweights, such as NAMM, back onto our calendars. These linchpins are also accompanied by a series of smaller shows. Any one of which could bring insurmountable value and exposure to businesses, media and those simply trying to fill up their contacts book.


Asking around the industry, we can really detect a tangible buzz in the air for the return of the music trade show. “For us, the trade shows are vital, as that is where we meet existing and new dealers and distributors, as well as end-customers and artists, face to face.” Daniel Troberg , the VP of Sales and Marketing for synth-manufacturer, Ashun Sound Machines, tells us, “When you have a physical product, it becomes very important to present them in that very same realm.” Troberg explains that for ASM, business is best done with a (sanitised) handshake, and the most exciting prospects for the company this year are Berlin’s increasingly popular Superbooth show, and Synthplex in Burbank, California. Not to mention of course, NAMM. “There will always be a place for in-person MI trade shows.” Daniel says, “It’s important to keep in mind that MI behind the scenes is actually not that big. We all kind of know (of) each other and it really is like one big family!”

It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by sample library producer Eduardo Tarilonte. His award-winning, evocative sample libraries, such as Dark Era and Forest Kingdom routinely cause ripples of excitement among the media. Showcasing what he’s been working on each year at pivotal trade shows is an important stage of his business. “Trade shows are very important to me. It is a way to be in touch with customers. In a growing virtual world, we need the real life and the real world. There is nothing else like that.” Eduardo explains, “Virtual exhibitions are great, but not as good as the real ones. In trade shows you meet new people. When you move things happen. It is also a great way to start new businesses. Virtual exhibitions are ‘one way’ only – it’s the developer or seller who talks or acts. In the trade shows both sides, seller and buyer interact in a true way.” For 2022, Eduardo has his sights fixed on Frankfurt’s Musikmesse, as well as the return of his yearly fixture, NAMM.

Synths on show

“Getting together with your clients and general network in a context that exceeds ’strictly business’ is key in order to maintain and develop relationships.” Says Kim Bang, founder of Momentum PR, “So yes, I do think there is a place for in-person expos in the future. If they will emerge in the same form as we have grown used to in the past is hard to say, but in any case there is a need for the industry to meet every once in a while. I have no doubt that new relationships are being built at every show – business contacts that would have never surfaced if it wasn’t for an industry event.”


Let’s take a look ahead to this year’s most essential music trade shows. This guide can serve as a solid hub with which to start your own planning. Of course, new trade shows, expos, gatherings and summits crop up all the time, so keep your ear to the ground.

South by Southwest – Friday 11th – Sunday 20th March
Location: Austin Convention Center and various venues around Austin, Texas
Expect: Austin’s annual summit on all things creative started out as a humble music festival back in 1987, it has now swallowed up film, video gaming and broader tech industries, too. The extensive period of events sees in conferences and seminars discussing the latest tech trends, gigs and events, the all-important film festival and a bustling hubbub of businesses, influencers, manufacturers, developers and more. After a two year break, 2022 is set to be a critical year for SXSW.

NAB Show – Saturday 23rd – Wednesday 27th April
Location: Las Vegas Convention Center, Las Vegas
Expect: The annual trade show of the National Association of Broadcasters brings in exhibitors from across media, music, TV, film and post-production. Aside from the technology on-show, there are lectures, panel discussions and – being in Vegas – plenty of nearby options where you sneak off to solidify business or entertain your clients and industry friends – vital for strengthening relationships.

Prolight + Sound – Tuesday 26th April – Friday 29th April
Location: Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt
Expect: Encompassing AV, lighting, pro-end sound equipment and on-stage tech for live performers, Prolight + Sound is an innovation and networking definite for anyone working in the live sound or AV production fields. It also serves as an advantageous appetiser to Musikmesse, which stars on Prolight + Sound’s last day.

Musikmesse – Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May
Location: Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt
Expect: Long a staple of the music technology world’s exhibiting roadmap, Musikmesse typically sees a throng of manufacturers, distributors, buyers, musicians and media figures convene at Frankfurt am Main. While this is a music trade show primarily, there’s also a heady array of performers and live acts playing around the convention, coupled with countless opportunities to grab a currywurst hot dog and have a face-to-face natter.

Brighton Music Conference – Wednesday 25th – Saturday 28th May
Location: British Airways i360, Brighton
Expect: A vital date for electronic musicians, producers, software and hardware manufacturers and those looking to learn more about the electronic scene, the Brighton Music Conference is one of the UK’s premier networking events and summits. Packed with panels, interviews, exhibitors, educational opportunities and performances, BMC should be circled if you want to make new connections.

The Guitar Show – Saturday 7th – Sunday 8th May
Location: New Bingley Hall, Birmingham (UK)
Expect: Guitars! Lots of them, in fact. You can also expect top-tier speakers, performers, masterclasses and representatives from major guitar companies in attendance. Though it started small, The Guitar Show has evolved into a major fixture for the UK guitar industry. If you work in any part of it, then heading Birmingham-ward in early May should be a no-brainer.

Superbooth 2022 – Thursday 12th – Sunday 22nd May
Location: FEZ-Berlin, Berlin
Expect: More synths than you can shake a patch cable at. Superbooth started as a tiny modular-synthesis-oriented offshoot of Musikmesse, before becoming its own – very hip/nerdy (there’s a fine line) –  Berlin-based gathering. Now it’s arguably overtaken that parent expo itself as one of the most on-trend synth summits on the calendar. Aside from synth companies big and small, expect to see influencers, media figures and even star synth players checking out the wares.

NAMM 2022 – Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th June
Location: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim
Expect: The BIG one. NAMM has been an imperative trip for anyone working in the music technology industry since its inception, while 2021’s virtual event was a successful adaptation to the pandemic, this year’s return of in-person NAMM is really getting the industry excited. The 2022 show has merged both its winter and summer events into one huge mega-NAMM, taking place in what’s sure to be a sweltering June. Expect tech, instruments, panels, live music, conferences and stressed-looking magazine/website employees attempting to film every booth. But NAMM is a legendarily social event too, so prepare for lots of drinking, laughter and indispensable contact-forming opportunity.

Plasa – Sunday 4th – Tuesday 6th September
Location: Olympia London
Expect: The expo for the Professional Lighting and Sound Association is often a Mecca for live music figures. Taking place at Olympia, London, the show features a raft of cutting edge tech as well as business and networking potential galore. There’s expert-led forums, conferences, demos and training on offer, too.

IBC – Friday 9th – Monday 12th September
Location: Amsterdam RAI, Amsterdam
Expect: The International Broadcasting Convention pulls in tech and media innovators large and small. While music and audio is a central component, the event also spans film, TV, digital media, post production and storage solutions. Its emphasis on communication and collaboration mean that it’s a top pick for meeting new people.

Music China – Wednesday 26th – Saturday 29th October
Location: Shanghai New International Expo Center, Shanghai
Expect: A truly global event, the four-day Music China expo is the biggest fair of musical instruments and gear in Asia, with a huge array of instrument manufacturers, buyers, businesses and media figures in attendance. Originally scheduled to take place in January, it will now take place at the latter half of the year, in October. If you’re looking to expand into – or catch up with – Chinese and Asian markets, then this should be on your list.

Synthplex – Thursday 27th – Sunday 30th October
Location: Marriott Convention Center, Burbank
Expect: Synths and synth-heads enthusiastically indulging in electronic sound. The snazzy Synthplex is driven by networking, with music associations, music education institutions and media in attendance. Goes without saying, that you’ll find speakers, artists and a heady assortment of manufacturers and synth-builders keen to show you what their latest gadgets can do.