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Gizmos and Stalwarts: A Report from the NAMM 2000 Show

Fueled by too many years of future shock and future think, one might expect that the first National Association of Music Merchandisers (NAMM) show of the 21st century would be the picture of post-modernity, a brave new world of music merchandising unimaginable to someone ten years ago. Has that happened? Well, yes and no, and less so than prognosticators might imagine. The landscape of NAMM, as seen in early February, stays the same the more it changes, advancing its technological bent, with refinements in the software section and-like everywhere-more and more evidence of dot-com culture.

But the staples of the music business still ruled, and NAMM itself embodied reassurance through repetition. There were shameless, convention-kitschy cheesecake displays, as usual, via scantily clad young women at Dean Guitars and DJ-marketed Gemini, in stark contrast with the more staid and button-down piano exhibitors. Nobody told them that using sexist tactics to bait leering conventioneers is on the other side of good taste in the 21st century. Or is it?

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