Category Archives: Music Business

Ben Hans – Instructor – MATC Music Program

 Milwaukee Area Technical College – Instructor Ben Hans

Ben Hans is an instructor at the Milwaukee Area Technical College Music program.  The curriculum focuses on the business of the music industry. Along with the business, recording and technology classes are taught as well. It is an excellent program.

Ben Hans

Several times a year I have the privilege of speaking to students at various universities and colleges in Wisconsin.  Topics may include entrepreneurialism, pitching your music or the general music industry.  One of those classes that I speak with on a regular basis is the aforementioned music program at MATC Milwaukee where Ben is the instructor. He is a passionate educator with a deep concern about the well-being of his students.  Ben is an accomplished musician himself and has been involved in many recording projects including his own releases.  But more importantly, he is a great teacher and it is obvious that his students admire and respect him.

This past session, I spoke to several classes about many music industry topics. These classes always have engaged students with interesting questions and perspectives. Part of their educational process is to write a review of my presentation as required by their instructor.  Below is their review of the class.

Roy Elkins

Founder, Broadjam, Google+, Onliner Notes, MySpace, Music Industry Views, News & Reviews

Additional links & good organizations – Madison Area Music Association, Willywash, Dallas Songwriters Association – one of the best in the business, Les Paul Foundation

Press & educational links – Moving To Nashville  Some Of The Best, More Of The Best, Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Examiner, Isthmus Rock The Vote, Broadjam 6-Pack, Celebrating Sonic FoundryGetting Your Music Into Film, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms




Dallas Songwriters Association Annual Songwriting Contest

Dallas Songwriters Association Annual Songwriting Contest - Grand Prize Judge Roy Elkins

For the past several years, I have had the honor of being the Grand Prize Judge of the Dallas Songwriters Association annual songwriting contest.  In my opinion, the DSA is the premier songwriting organization in the country.  Not only do they hold their grandaddy songwriting competition annually, they hold numerous other events monthly that are all focused on perfecting the craft of songwriting. In July alone, there are 7 events on their calendar including open mics, song swaps, a workshop, a showcase, a cultural exchange and they’ve just launched their annual contest. Congrats to Barbe McMillen and the entire group at the Dallas Songwriters Association as the organization is celebrating their 27th anniversary in 2014.

This year will be the 10th year I have been involved (I think it’s 10) in the Dallas Songwriters Association contest and some of the best independent songs I have ever heard came through this competition. As I was creating this blog, I was looking at the reviews from the previous years.  My guess  is that I have written about 100 or so reviews about the top songs. Kudos to the writers as I remember just about every song in the list.  Lots of good memorable stuff.

Below I have posted some of my favorites that I found links to on Broadjam.

Do You Believe by Jay + Tonic, Delete by Noel Cohen, No Hard Feelings by Shane Martin, Hell Freezes Over by Liz Miller & Tom Stipe, The Morning You by Andy Taylor, My Devil Does by Will Hopkins and Dig Into Reading by Randy Sauer.  These are just a few of the winners.

Dallas Songwriters Association Annual Songwriting Contest - Michael George Band on BroadjamMy favorite to date is still Here’s To Love, by the Michael George Band.  It’s a song about peace and done so tastefully with a deep baritone voice.  No matter what mood you’re in when you listen to this song, you will feel at peace by the end of it.  That’s the brilliance of it. This is also in my personal all time favorite playlist.

Here is the winners blog for further reading.

If you would like to read reviews of other songs, please visit Onliner Notes.  Lots of great songs and feedback is featured there.

If you are a songwriter, whether you live in Dallas or not, give the contest a shot. You can enter it here at Broadjam. If you live in Dallas, get involved with the Dallas Songwriters Association and you will become a better songwriter.

Press & educational links – Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms


Madison Area Music Association Awards

Madison Area Music Association Annual Awards 2014 Winners

Artist Of The Year – The Jimmys

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins The Jimmys
The Jimmys – The MAMAs Artist of the Year

The Jimmys are: Jimmy Voegeli -(2014 Madison Area Music Association Keyboardist of the Year) Hammond Organ, Piano, Electric Rhodes, Vocals/Mauro Magellan (Georgia Satellites)-Drums and Percussion/John Wartenweiler – (2014 MAMA Bassist of the Year) Electric and Acoustic Bass/Darren Sterud – (2014 MAMA Brass of the Year) Trombone/Perry WeberGuitars and Vocals/Bryan Husk – Tenor and Baritone Saxophones/Chad Whittinghill – Trumpet and Flugelhorn/Pete Ross – Alto Saxophone

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins The Jimmys
The Jimmys instrumental winners with MAMA Board President Roy Elkins

Michael St. John Lifetime Achievement Award

Leotha Stanley

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Leotha Stanley
Leotha Stanley Madison Area Music Association 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award

Songwriter Award – Jim Schwall

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Jim Schwall
Jim Schwall Madison Area Music Association 2014 Songwriter Award

Genre Awards

Alternative – Sexy Ester                                     

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Sexy Ester
Sexy Ester – Alternative Album “Monomania”, Song “Hold On” and Performer 2014 Winner


Kyle Henderson

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Kyle Henderson
Kyle Henderson – 2014 MAMA Male Vocalist and Blues Album of the Year “Brand New Chance”

The Jimmys – Blues Performer and Song of the Year “Big Fat Woman”

Childrens  – Art Paul Schlosser

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Art Paul Schlosser
Art Paul Schlosser – Children’s Performer and Song of the Year ” Read A Book”

Childrens Album of the Year Sisters Three A Midsummernight’s Dream

Classical – Graminy

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Graminy
MAMA 2014 Winner Graminy – Classical Album of the Year “Germinations: A Bluegrass Symphony in D” and Classical Song of the Year “March of the Cranes”

Classical Performer of the Year Joe Sokolinsky


Album of the Year The Dang-Its A Lick of Sense
Performer of the Year Madison County
Song of the Year The Family Business “Chances”


Annabel Lee

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Annabel Lee
2014 MAMA Female Vocalist of the Year – Annabel Lee, Electronic Performer of the Year, Electronic Song of the Year “Pray”

Electronic Album of the Year – Midas Bison Wavey Daze


Ida Jo

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Ida Jo
2014 MAMA Folk/Americana Performer of the Year Ida Jo and Folk/Americana Song of the Year “For Better For Worse”

Folk/Americana Album of the Year – Mark Croft Live at Shake Rag Alley

Hard Rock/PunkLords of the Trident

Lords of the Trident
Lords of the Trident – Hard Rock/Punk Album of the Year “Plan of Attack”, Hard Rock/Punk Performer of the Year, Hard Rock/Punk Song of the Year “Complete Control”

Hip Hop

Conscious Object

Conscious Object
2014 MAMA Hip-Hop Performer of the Year Conscious Object, Hip-Hop Album of the Year “Sourcery”, Hip-Hop Song of the Year

Hip Hop Song of the Year – Kicksville  “Shriveled Soul”

Jazz – Harmonious Wail                                            

Harmonius Wail
2014 MAMA Jazz Performer of the Year Harmonious Wail, Jazz Album of the Year “Bohemian Tango”, Jazz Song of the Year”Bohemian Tango”

Pop R& B

Album of the Year Annabel Lee Starstruck!
Performer of the Year Anthony Lamarr
Song of the Year Sam Lyons “Before We Fall”


Album of the Year The Family Business Rock and Roll Machine
Performer of the Year Venus in Furs
Song of the Year Sexy Ester “The Hotness”


Album of the Year Michael Massey Dracula, A Rock Ballet
Performer of the Year Sisters Three
Song of the Year Anthony Lamarr “My Regards”

World – Natty Nation

Natty Nation
2014 MAMA World Performer of the Year Natty Nation, World Album of the Year “Live at the UW Terrace”, World Song of the Year “Cease Fire”, Ensemble Vocals

Non-Genre Awards:

Breakthrough Artist of the Year Annabel Lee
New Artist of the Year Gabe Burdulis
Compilation Album of the Year Karen Wheelock Smilin’ On
Cover Song of the Year Mark Croft “Dancing in the Dark (Live)”
Meritorious Achievement Award Sheilah Kring
Video Of The Year Beth Kille “I’ve Been Accused”

Ensemble Vocalists of the Year Natty Nation
Female Vocalist of the Year Annabel Lee
Male Vocalist of the Year Kyle Henderson

Bassist of the Year John Wartenweiler of The Jimmys
Brass Instrumentalist of the Year Darren Sterud of The Jimmys
Drummer/Percussionist of the Year Joey B Banks
Guitarist of the Year Michael Tully
Keyboardist of the Year Jimmy Voegeli
Specialty Instrumentalist of the Year Chris Wagoner (Lap Steel)
Strings Instrumentalist of the Year Mary Gaines
Woodwinds Instrumentalist of the Year Trevor Hoffman of The Rotation

People’s Choice Awards:

Cover Band Performer of the Year John Masino Band
DJ of the Year Nick Nice
Live Sound Engineer of the Year Lonya Neneshev
Local Live Music Venue of the Year High Noon Saloon
Local Music Fan of the Year Sarah Warmke
Local Music Publication/Blog of the Year Isthmus
Local Music Radio Personality of the Year Gabby Parsons
Local Music Radio Station of the Year 89.9 WORT
Local Recorded Music Store of the Year B-Side Records
Album Packaging of the Year Harmonious Wail Bohemian Tango
Photographer of the Year John Urban
Producer of the Year Mike Zirkel
Recording Studio of the Year Audio for the Arts
Roadie of the Year Ralph Shively
Studio Sound Engineer of the Year Mike Zirkel

Youth Awards

Gabe Burdulis

Madison Area Music Association Roy Elkins Gabe Burdulis
2014 MAMA Youth Album of the Year Gabe Burdulis “The Land of Make Believe”, Youth Male Vocalist, Youth Speciality Instrument, Youth Guitarist , New Artist of the Year, Launchpad 2014 Madison Regional Finalist

Female Vocalist of the Year Helen Feest of The Blue Sundays
Woodwinds Instrumentalist of the Year Robert Stine from Middleton High School
Keyboardist of the Year Adam Goren from Middleton High School
Song of the Year The Blue Sundays “Mary Anne”
Launchpad 2014 Madison Regional Finalist  Distant Cuzins
Launchpad 2014 Madison Regional Finalist Prom Queen Rejects

After The Rain

After The Rain
2014 MAMA Youth Band Ensemble Vocalists of the Year After the Rain, Youth Drummer/Percussionist of the Year Quinn Mattson, Youth Bassist of the Year Dominic Cannarella-Andersen, Launchpad 2014 Madison Regional Finalist


Congrats to everyone!

Roy Elkins

Founder, Broadjam

Additional links & good organizations

Madison Area Music Association

Project Famous

Willywash  Good people who making a difference in the Madison community

Dallas Songwriters Association – one of the best in the business

Merlin Mentors Great org that helps young entrepreneurs

Les Paul Foundation

Wisconsin Foundation for School Music

ENSONIQ Founder Bruce Crockett by Roy Elkins

Great People Along The Way by Roy Elkins

Bruce Crockett, Founder and CEO of ENSONIQ Corporation

ENSONIQ (Maker of keyboards, synthesizers and effects processors)

I first met Bruce when I flew up from Memphis to interview at ENSONIQ headquarters in Malvern, PA. Bruce is a tall guy, thin, unassuming, relatively quiet, but when he walks into the room, you know who the boss is. His presence is large. When interviewing at ENSONIQ, I was introduced to Bruce in his office at the old building in Malvern, PA and needless to say, I was petrified. Here I am, sitting in the room with the man who founded ENSONIQ, the company I idolized…..Fast forward>>


I was offered a job to start the ENSONIQ School and train the dealers on how to use and sell our products. I arrived at ENSONIQ, excited and scared shitless at the same time. Like so many of the dealers and users, I worshipped the company and everyone in it. The company had just moved in the new building and my office, which was the training room, had no carpet, wall paper, desk or anything. It was empty. The first few training sessions were done on card tables, no carpeting, etc….but I loved it and couldn’t believe what I was doing for a living.

I was in the training room on a Saturday afternoon rearranging the set-up preparing for the first school. At the front of the room was one of those old Ultimate Support stands and I needed to shave it down a little to make it work. Bruce walks in and asked how I was doing. I explained my dilemma with the stand. He returns a few minutes later with a hack saw and cuts the stand to the height I needed. Like Bruce, I came from humble beginnings and thought CEOs weren’t supposed to do “manual labor.” Words can’t express how that simple act influenced me. A few days later, I went into the mens room and there is Bruce with his tie thrown over his shoulder trying to fix something under the sink. I remember thinking, I can work for this guy. His work ethic influenced us and like so many of my colleagues at ENSONIQ, I could tell Bruce stories for hours without repeating one.

Comdex & Willie Nelson

ENSONIQ Bruce Crockett Willie Nelson Roy Elkins
Bruce Crockett and Roy Elkins with Willie Nelson on his bus.

One of my favorite stories is when we arranged, sponsored and promoted a Willie Nelson Show at the Thomas Mack Arena in Las Vegas during the Comdex convention. My responsibility was to “make it happen.” Johnny Neel who was with the Allman Brothers at the time, opened the show and brought the house down. Then Bruce introduced Willie to the crowd of about 30,000 and the show was amazing. Hit after hit after hit. Although Bruce introduced Willie, he didn’t get a chance to meet him before the show. Unbeknownst to Bruce, I spoke to the tour manager and arranged a meeting afterwards in one of the hospitality rooms. The manager came to get us and said, “we’re going to go to the bus instead and you’ll meet him there.” My immediate thought was, “Oh shit, I am taking my boss to Willie’s tour bus.” I was well aware of the scenario that was probably unfolding on Willie’s bus as we walked out into the parking lot. The bus door opens and a tornado of smoke emerges similar to the storm at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz. We walk up the steps and take a quick left and needless to say, the smoke was so thick we couldn’t see anyone. (I’m sure I’m exaggerating a little here, but it does make the point.) We were introduced to Willie and he was as gracious as a person could be. I had a brief conversation with his sister, who has been his piano player forever and she was just as kind. Willie offered us a seat, but we declined. When we got off the bus, I don’t think either one of us knew what to say, but we did have a good laugh as we were walking back to the arena.

The LA Trip

We had an awesome product that wasn’t doing so well in the marketplace and Bruce wanted to do something special for the sales reps right away. I made a few calls and a plan was in place that would unfold in less than two weeks. The idea was to fly our reps, introduce them to the stars who were using our products and get them fired up. Hopefully they would feel better about the product which ultimately would generate more sales.

On the schedule to have breakfast, lunch and/or dinner with our reps was David Arkenstone, Davis Was, Edgar Winter, Sherman Hemsley, Will Smith, Roy Firestone, Pat O’Brien, Keith Emerson, Joe Walsh, Joe Vitale and a few others. We also went to the Tonight Show where we met Jay Leno, Kevin Eubanks, John Travolta and Danny Wilde of the Rembrandts. We stopped by the legendary O’Henry Studios and then to the set of Baywatch. One of my personal highlights was seeing Bruce having a beer with Sherman Hemsley at his house overlooking the valley in LA.

ENSOIQ Bruce Crockett  Sherman Hemsley Roy Elkins
Bruce Crockett and Sherman Hemsley in LA

This was all put together in less than two weeks and while driving from one meeting to the next I was wondering whether or not the next guest was going to show up. Bruce, along with our VP of Sales Dan Garrett, were very supportive and appreciative of the stress it took to pull this off. To this day I am still amazed that it went off without a hitch. After we got back, Bruce came into my office, said some nice words and I felt like I earned my stripes. He never bullshitted anyone, so when he said something nice, you knew he meant it.


A few years into Broadjam, I hit a snag and called Bruce for advice. Thinking I was going to have a long phone conversation or two, he surprised me and asked what I was doing in the next few days. He got on a plane, flew out to Madison from Washington State and spent a couple days straightening me out. I was blown away and will never forget it. I don’t think he ever stopped caring about his employees, even long after they left his employ.

Over the years, I’ve learned more from him than any one person in business. Not because he was consciously teaching any of us, he was just being him. I have read numerous books about leadership and he is what they are talking about. There are times I find myself repeating his words to my employees. After he left ENSONIQ, the spirit of the company imploded and many of us left within a few months. He was ENSONIQ to all of us. It was sold within a year or so and now it’s just a memory. If he was still there, I would be too.

Update: I wrote the above last summer and had a chance to share it with him shortly after.  I was driving home from a presentation when I found out.  A tear rolled down my cheek and at the same time I smiled, as I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work for him.  His legacy will live on for a long time.  R.I.P. Bruce.

Roy Elkins

Onliner Notes