Notes From the Music Business

Comments: 28

John Oszajca

While I don’t typically spend a lot of time talking about my various projects outside of my life as a musician on this blog, (something I hope to change in the coming months), I do feel the need to post a quick note and mention a major project of mine that will be coming to a head over the next few weeks…

As most of you know I started a little business called Music Marketing Manifesto way back in 2009. Initially my transition from major label recording artist to independent artist was not the happiest of times. Unable to thrive as a musician with the power of a major label behind me, I had little expectation of doing much better as an independent artist.

I took a bit of a hiatus and started focusing on new ways to make money, while avoiding any semblance of a day job. After a year of obsessing, and undoubtedly annoying all of those around me with what had to be the most excruciatingly boring musings imaginable, I had cracked the code on this whole “internet marketing thing” and built a little life for myself as an online marketer. 

While “online marketing” hardly has the sexy ring of “rock star”, it was actually something that I found to be quite creative and I genuinely enjoyed it. It may not have been music, but it was still a discipline that required me to use art and imagery to reach people. And frankly, I was pretty good at it.

Once my initial business was off the ground and the bank account was back in the black, I started looking for new ways to hone these new-found online marketing skills. The short version of the story is that I took on the roll as marketing manager for the release of my good friend Billy Burke’s  debut album “Removed”. I spent a whopping $400 dollars and change on the entire campaign and we ended up setting the all-time single-day sales record over at CD Baby, the world’s largest distributor of independent music. The album landed on Billboard’s Heat Seeker Chart and held the #1 spot at CD Baby for several weeks. We were stoked.

Enjoying a return to the music space, and eager to share the story of what we had done with others, I created a little course that outlined the entire process; and of course, Music Marketing Manifesto was born.

Fast forward nearly a decade and the business has blossomed into a healthy community of nearly 50,000 musicians who have come to realize that there are better ways to carve out a career then by hoping and praying that a major label, manager, producer, et al, will come along and magically make you a household name. I have helped numerous artists limb to the top of various Billboard, iTunes, Amazon, Barns & Noble, and CD Baby Charts, and even handled the digital marketing on a campaign that helped land long-time client and friend, Janiva Magness, get nominated for a Grammy. I couldn’t love what I do more.

Currently in it’s third addition, I am excited to announce that Music Marketing Manifesto 4.0 has been completed and will be released on July 26th; just a few weeks from now. I have put many months of work into this course and I sincerely feel that it’s the greatest product I have created yet and is one that will have a significant impact on many independent music careers.

That’s about it really. This site was always created to be a music hub. As such I rarely post things that are outside of that scope. But I thought that perhaps it was time to change that a bit. To expand the topics discussed here to encompass my other projects, interests, and general thoughts.

If you’re a musician, be sure to keep an eye out for the course. If you’re a friend or a fan, thanks for reading and be sure to subscribe to get alerts when new posts go up on the site.

Your thoughts? Please leave a comment below with any feedback, questions, or just to say hi.


  • Ben says:

    I can’t wait to read the updated MMM! This business has proven difficult at times for anyone who has dipped their toes in, I hope to learn from your very relatable experiences.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi John,
    I’m glad to read your post! I was happy to complete MMM 3.0 and was very thankful for the insane amount of information you shared. There is no way I would have figured all of that out on my own and I’m just so proud for having even completed the course. I still struggle though because I don’t know my microniche or who my audience is. And that’s what I now need help with. Do you have any advice on how to figure that out?? Thank you so much!!
    Best wishes,

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hi Lisa,

      Finding your target audience is a bit daunting for some but it’s really a lot more straightforward then many people make it. All you really need to do is get to the core of that single sentence that a friend might tell their friends when describing your music. The no nonsense honest and simple description. From there you can use a combination of common sense and Facebook’s audience insight tools to isolate your target audience. You’ll find a few videos in MMM 4.0 that go into more detail.

      Thanks again and I’m really glad you enjoyed 3.0.

  • Andrei B. says:

    Hello John,
    nice to hear from you. Keep up the good work! I’m not a musician, but I was stunned when I fgound out that most of the revenue from music goes not to the authors, but the label and all the marketing stuff. So, I really wish luck in what you do and hope your small steps that get bigger and bigger by the time will change the world. Just don’t turn to the dark side 😀


  • Russell says:

    Looking forward to the latest MMM. Thanks for doing what you’re doing and sharing what you’re sharing.

  • Matt Welsh says:

    This is incredibly exciting John! You’ve got an inspiring story that I can totally relate to. I will continue to share and support your work. Thank you for all that you do 🙂

  • Tim Field says:

    Great page John! Nice design. Good colors! Are you writing HTML code yourself now? You’re such a polymath!

    • John Oszajca says:

      Ha! Thanks Tim. This site is actually built by customizing the new Music Marketing Manifesto WordPress theme that Scott James designed. It will be included with the course I mention in the post. Hope you’re well Tim!

  • Brian says:

    Your writing is cool, both in song and in blog. Your journey is also rad, both in music and manifesto. I’ve seen you be pretty transparent with your struggles and wins, and I see how sharing both is key. Being vulnerable can be fucking hard, so thanks for walking the talk. Im excited about 4.0 man.

  • Sandy Anderson says:

    Your song writing and singing are undeniably great, but you sound happy and thriving as you carve out additional pathways for yourself and fellow musicians. Good for you! I always wish you the best.

  • Carlos says:

    Would enjoy your content more if you didn’t have to interject your political beliefs in every other post on social media.

    Just stick to the good stuff only.

    • John Oszajca says:

      Every other post? That’s hilarious. I just searched my feed and found 3 posts related to politics, ever. And two of those were just shared posts. Not sure what you’re reading there Carlos.

  • Stacy says:

    Hi John,

    Continued success on all your projects. I look forward to hearing more music.

  • Michael says:

    Congrats on version 4.0 man!

  • Sean Maysonet says:

    Hey John,

    It’s been a long time since the nights we enjoyed watching you play at Goldfingers. Glad you’re doing well!

  • Bob Hardie says:

    Hi John,

    I’ve been a fan since the first album and am glad to see you have new music available. It was a pleasure hanging out with you so many years ago at the tiny bar in Tacoma. Any plans for a new tour?

    Take care,

    • John Oszajca says:

      Hey Bob,

      Thanks for the continued support. I really appreciate it. Album #4 is in the can but I need to find a spare couple of months to dedicate to it’s release. No tour planned right this sec, but I have some loose plans to make some noise around the end of the year. Will definitely keep you posted.

  • Robert Alfaro says:

    That was cool to read. I have seen MMM around and I wondered about a lot of that stuff. Congrats and good luck for the new program.

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