The acronym NAMM originally stood for the National Association of Music Merchants, but has evolved from a national entity representing the interests of music products retailers to an international association including both commercial, retail members and affiliates. Therefore, the long form of the name is no longer used, and it is simply known as NAMM, the International Music Products Association.
Each Winter NAMM Show is heavily covered by the music-industry press. Thousands of new-product introductions and demonstrations are made at Winter NAMM, making attendance by trade journalists a necessity. Some publications, such as Music Trades , publish special NAMM issues for distribution at the show. NAMM also produces a show directory and a daily news magazine called Upbeat, for distribution at the convention center and at local hotels.
Among music-trade attendees, the NAMM Show is an exhausting ritual. The Anaheim Convention Center is one of the world's largest, and NAMM (since 2007) completely fills all the available exhibit space, necessitating miles of walking to cover all the exhibits. NAMM is also colloquially called "the world's loudest trade show" , although this monicker is also assigned to the E3 Expo and other shows involving entertainment. Despite severe regulations on the permissible noise level, sound level meters carried by NAMM personnel routinely exceed the 85 dBA maximum throughout most of the main exhibit hall, simply from the constant background noise.
The association’s other show, Summer NAMM, was hosted by Austin, Texas at the end of July, 2007. The smaller summer show is approximately one third the size of the Winter NAMM Show and focuses more on industry meetings and professional development courses than products. Recent reports indicated that the Summer NAMM show has suffered from declining attendance, as it has been cycled between Nashville TN, Austin TX and Indianapolis IN during successive years.