IHM News

Winter NAMM 2020 Review

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : February 11, 2020

Winter NAMM 2020: IHM Staff Writer Kat Merby Attends & Reports from the Biggest Merchandiser Show of the Music Industry

Winter NAMM 2020 Review (by Kat Merby) – No matter what corner of the music industry you find yourself in, there is one trade show each year that unites everyone.  The feeling in the air at this show is inexpressible yet electric. The number of people to network with, vendor booths to visit, instruments to touch,  synthesizers to make funky sounds on, food truck menus to assess, companies to learn the names of, and industry knowledge to absorb is incredible.

Winter NAMM 2020

The Winter NAMM 2020 show was held in Anaheim, CA from January 16th to the 19th. Events throughout these four days included concerts, product demonstrations, award shows, social gatherings, networking opportunities, panel discussions, and informational seminars. These events were either held at the Anaheim Convention center or the hotel next door. The CEO at The LABZ, Farah Allen, described the setup as a “little NAMM city.”

“My skillset is to build solutions with technology and now it’s building technology that’s for music creators and I just love that side of what I’m doing.” Farah Allen, The LABZ @ Winter NAMM 2020

The LABZ is a digital workspace that keeps all aspects of the collaborative songwriting and royalty collection process all in one secure place.  The LABZ was released in beta form this past March and the 2.0 version will be released in April. Some of the highlighted features of this version of the LABZ includes automatically created split sheets, DocuSign, a new look with more rounded corners, and an expanded list of workflows so that creatives in any field are able to use it. Allen presented this software at a panel discussion titled “Tech for Indie Artists.”

“We have built something that usually people do, but it can be done automatically, a lot of people hire out or you spend a lot of time developing yourself… We are cutting down the time and cost and energy it takes to establish your intellectual property and be able to share it out to the world,” Allen said.

Another speaker at the “Tech for Indie Artists” panel was Vanessa Ferrer, the visionary behind Merch Cat.  This was her first time ever speaking at NAMM and she had the chance to introduce her inventory management system to those attending the panel. The idea for a software that tracks inventory in real-time hit her while she was managing multiple bands and assisting with running their merch tables. The feature of Merch cat that sets it apart from other inventory management systems is the ability to track your sales by the show.

Winter NAMM 2020 Vanessa Ferrer

“The inventory tracking is critical but understanding what your selling at what show is one of the most important metrics. You could be selling and just not understanding what geographical areas, what venues you sell what at and what dollar amounts your making. Understanding that is crucial to planning your next phases of when you tour and where you’re touring, like who your audience is,” Ferrer said.

Initially, Merch Cat was designed for independent and emerging artists, but even artists on a label or who have a manager that doesn’t already use a merchandise management tool would benefit from it. Her goal is to make the application as easy to use as possible by keeping a close eye on the workflow and user experience. She understands the implications of not keeping a good watch on your merchandise business.

“It’s even more critical for indie artists because they don’t usually have support in bringing in other revenue streams but I think every artist, even on labels needs a merchandise management system because I have seen them not maximizing their merch business.” Vanessa Ferrer, Merch Cat.

Winter NAMM 2020

Students of the Music and Entertainment Business program from Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI. From left to right, Ally B, Taylor F, and Kat Merby

At the Winter NAMM 2020 show, every artist (or music business student such as myself), could find value in the products, knowledge, and people that attended the show. If you are interested in learning more about Merch cat or The Labz, send an email to

Help others make it count, share thisShare on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About IHM

Indiehitmaker (IHM) is the cornerstone of PolyPlat Records ADSD, the Artist Development Services Division that provides independent, unsigned and DIY artists the same advantages as major label recording artists. We make your sales and streams count by working with Nielsen's authenticated partners and BuzzAngle directly to... +more

Our Partners

Learn about other companies that make up the new music industry

View our partners
Phone & Fax 1-877-GO-IHM (877.994.6446)
F: 877.994.6447

Twitter Feed Follow IHM