Chicago Vocalist and Bassist, Jason Scheff, on Marketing Music – Podcast Episode #21

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In episode #21 of the Music Marketing Manifesto Podcast we are going to speak with Jason Scheff – the long-time vocalist and bassist of the world famous rock/pop band, Chicago – about thriving in the new music business.

If by some chance you have been living under a rock for the last few decades and are not familiar with the band, Chicago is one of the longest-running and best-selling rock bands of all time, having sold more than 100 million records, with 23 gold, 18 platinum, and 8 multi-platinum albums. How do you like them apples?

Jason and I connected a few years ago over a shared passion for direct-to-fan marketing, and I recently asked him if he would join us on a the MMM Podcast to discuss his career, his past success, and (perhaps more importantly) to offer some advice on how to successfully navigate the rapidly changing music industry going forward.

To listen to the interview just go to iTunes >> Search “Music Marketing Manifesto” >> and subscribe. The episode should start to download immediately. You can also click here to find the MMM podcast on iTunes.

You can also listen right here on the site. Just click the play button below. (Note*** For more player control please listen in iTunes)


Or if you prefer, you can download the episode directly to your computer. Just right click and save.

I want to be sure an extend a big thank you to Jason for taking the time to join us on this episode and for giving us rare insight into a truly legendary music career as well invaluable advice for up-and-coming musicians that are hoping to carve out a career in this often-daunting industry.

If you enjoy this episode then please do me a favor and go to iTunes, click “subscribe”, and leave a review. Those ratings and reviews are crucial to the success of the podcast. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

And as always, please leave any thoughts, opinions, or feedback in the comments below.


  • Music industry and the internet is constantly changing and you have to adapt and change your strategy on a regular basis. I try not to follow everyone because what is fashionable / trendy in marketing becomes saturated and copied. The internet these days has alot of noise and trying to find great music is very difficult. In the old days you have tv shows and more independent radios etc. With the internet all musicians have the opportunity to meet people. I try to be my myself. I find some people follow me because they like I try different ideas. I definitely think using social media you can meet new listeners and I always try to interact when people follow by simply saying that for following me etc and did you like the music. On many occasions I had feedback and sometimes I don’t. When I do have feedback you can sort of get to the know abit. If they get to know your music they might follow you. Emailed newsletters are still useful even if they are old school. One interesting point in the podcast I agree with the building leads people don’t always purchase within a week or month. Some people might listen to you for months or years and they might hear that one song or right graphics and they might get your music.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hi Vic,

      Thanks for your interest. Yes it absolutely takes a few times of a person seeing your offer before they buy, which is why getting people onto an email follow-up schedule is so important for independent artist. For one, you do get to actually build a two way relationship with people, but secondly you get to keep your music in front of them, as you build that level of influence with them.

      This is a huge difference from the way people buy from independent acts, as opposed to well known acts. They buy from independent artists because they like you and want to support your career, rather than thinking of you as something they are constantly exposed to through saturation, like with major artist.

      Let me know if I can ever help with anything else.

  • Mark DiPino says:

    Great podcast. I could relate to a lot of what was said. I’m trying to build relationships with potential fans via social media. I’m getting the Facebook likes through the ads but it just hasn’t converted to sales yet. I offer the free track and they like the post but don’t actually take action and download and subscribe. It’s frustrating but I’m sticking with it because I believe in my music. I just need to find that niche and a way to communicate effectively. Thanks for the great info.
    Mark DiPino

    • John Oszajca says:

      Glad you enjoyed the Podcast Mark. What you are describing wouldn’t be that uncommon. It really just comes down to getting in the head of your target audience and presenting your offer in a way they are likely to connect with and respond to. It usually takes a bit of testing different approaches to get there, but it can nearly always be done. Thanks for listening.

  • Brian Rogers says:

    This interview was amazing front to back – I love how the mantra was just get up and do it, doesn’t need to be perfect!

  • Mario says:

    Great interview and I’m sold, I’ve been watching you for a while John and never got your course because I’m tired of all the fake money making courses out there so trust was a factor for me. But what got me is that you are a real musician that really was out there signed and doing your own thing in this broken music industry we have now. I’m going to try to get your course as soon as possibly for me. my money situation is very low right now, but I’m getting it>

  • Michael says:

    I have to say…years ago…when I first dug into the MMM, I also looked you up. And I agree with what Jason said, I really was more taken by the fact that you weren’t all glitzy and schmaltzy about your presentation. Because the content was solid, and you were all over YouTube doing cool things. lol It’s a good presentation.

  • sam cockrell says:

    Hey John I love the concept and a big fan of Jason but he is famous and has money I have talent but zero money I write great songs have a great band how can I get involved with this
    Love to get your input I live in Chicago and unforunately don’t know anyone other than broke
    Musicians. not trying to get famous just wanna keep the house paid and the lights on so I can practice. Thank you

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Sam,

      I totally hear where you’re coming from but the good news is that having fame only plays a small part in the equation.

      The way this approach to music works is that you first target an existing audience/market by aligning your brand with their pre-existing interests and passions and convince people to take the first step of simply downloading some free music in exchange for their email address. From there your job is to build authentic relationships with your new subscribers using automation tools that allow you to scale. Your success comes down to your ability to create interesting content for your subscribers and build an authentic bond with them. If you can do that, selling is easy. This is broken down in a long established selling principle called the AIDA Funnel. Which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

      Now, someone who is famous will have a few less obstacles to overcome with their marketing because awareness and interest already exist. But it is really not that difficult to create awareness and interest as a brand new artist. You simply need to be genuinely interesting and engaging. How one goes about that will vary for every artist, but being a “channel” is now just as important as being a great songwriter/vocalist/musician, whether you are famous or not.

      Here is a long list of musicians that have had success with MMM and as you’ll see, other than Jason, none are what you’d all household names. Many are brand new artists experiencing their very first sales.

  • Leslie levin says:

    Sorry I’m missing you all at Nancy Davis’s MS event!!! Out of the country!! Been attending every year, great friends!!!! Have fun!! Leslie levin

  • Amanda Randall says:

    Dear John and Jason, What a fantastic podcast. I thoroughly enjoyed it, full of advice, and a wonderful insight into the modern world of music marketing. I am an independent singer songwriter, formally signed to EMI in the Netherlands. I have been waiting for the opportunity to manage my own career for many years, and really appreciate the generous gift of such great advice. Thank you very much. Best wishes, Amanda

    P.S. John, I have tried to get onto Itunes to leave a review, however when I search for Music Marketing Manifesto, it comes up with a blank. Would you be able to send me a link please?

  • LOVE IT! Have known Jason for a bunch of years and he is the reason I found you John Oszajca and very thankful for all the training and education and inspiration. THANK YOU.

    Todd Omohundro

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