A Brief History of Music Product Trade Shows in Australia
The history of music trade shows goes back to the 70’s when the formal wholesale and retail structure of the industry was establishing itself. These trade shows were usually in major hotels such as the Hilton Hotel. In the 1980’s the Executive Committee of the Australian Music Association broadened the focus to include promoting musical instruments and music making to the general public as well as to their dealers.
The Trade and Public hybrid trade shows continued on through to the late 90’s when several large shows attracting crowds of 15,000 were held at Sydney’s Convention Centre at Darling Harbour under the name of The Australian International Music Show.
From 1999 the industry’s trade show was redesigned for a ‘trade only’ attendance and The Australian Music Association Convention or AMAC was born. AMAC continued through to 2014 providing an important meeting for suppliers and retailers.
A number of changes in the industry, including the viability of holding a large trade event, a move towards public events, and the changing nature of interactions between wholesalers and retailers, have removed the appetite for a general music products trade show in Australia. The AMA currently has no plans to reintroduce AMAC or something similar.
The AMA now runs Melbourne Guitar Show, which is a public event with an exhibition floor. The event was held for several years pre-pandemic and returned in 2023. www.melbourneguitarshow.com.au
Other Trade Shows
AMA members exhibit at other events, in Australia for specific purposes and internationally for the whole music products market. The NAMM Show is the ‘defacto Australian trade show’, where some Australian companies exhibit and many of our members attend to meet with suppliers, see new products, and connect with the global industry. namm.org/thenammshow
Integrate, held annually in Sydney, is “Australia’s leading platform dedicated to helping businesses harness the power of AV to transform customer experiences”, its music products exhibitors are primarily involved in pro audio. integrate-expo.com
EduTech, held annually in Melbourne, is “Australia’s largest education event, bringing together the entire education ecosystem to discuss, debate, and evaluate the future of education.” There is a growing music presence, based around music technology. terrapinn.com/exhibition/edutech-australia.
Several music education conferences have an exhibition floor for music products, including Maryborough Music Conference held annually in Queensland. queenslandschoolmusic.education.qld.gov.au/maryborough-music-conference