Paying for music

Yes, paying for music. Who does that today? Next to nobody.

A few days ago, I went on iTunes and purchased the Detroit Cobras 2007 album, Tried and True.


A few weeks ago, I chatted with Detroit Cobras singer Rachel Nagy. Through a series of emails I connected with Rachel and got her to record a shoutout for my radio show, recorded via phone from the city she relocated to a few years ago, New Orleans.

If you’re not familiar with the Cobras, they specialize in cutting revved up…garage plus punk…versions of lesser known and obscure R&B numbers from the ’50s and ’60s. Like Bye Bye Baby by Mary Wells.

Truth be told, my good friend Sean Anderson, drummer extraordinaire for a London Ontario rockabilly band called The Black Holes, lent me copies of the first two Cobras CDs and I copied them. But….

I have played at least a dozen Detroit Cobras songs on the Rock and Roll Riot.

So, I could have asked Rachel to send mp3s or Dropbox links. I’ve received plenty of songs that way from Toronto rockabilly bands like The Royal Crowns, The Millwinders and The 24th Street Wailers. Greatly appreciated and, while some radio shows may have played one or two cuts, I have treated audiences in Wasaga Beach, and Middlebourne, West Virginia (Knight’s Radio, WRSG!!!!!) to pretty much every song provided by those acts.

And hey, everyone, here’s Paul James.


He was part of the Wasaga Beach Blues Festival in September of this year. Paul played on the patio at a Wasaga beachfront bar called The Copa Cabana. I introduced myself to Paul, told him about my show, and he was gracious enough to give me a couple of his CDs. I’ve played several cuts from those discs during the past four months.

Then again…

My friend (and helluva performer) Samantha Martin has told me, half jokingly, that she has gotten royalty cheques for five cents. Literally. SOCAN said her song was played this many times during a recent audit and…here’s five cents.

On this Saturday’s show, I’m playing Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire, as done by Social Distortion. Social D played an event called Wakestock, about five years ago in Collingwood and I’m still kicking myself for not going. Social D, 25 minutes away and I stayed home. 

So….I wlll put this to you, music lovers. Go to a concert. Be it at an arena, a theatre, a casino, a club.  Buy a ticket. Pay the cover charge. They make next to nothing from CDs and if they are with a record company, someone else makes way more money than they do. They will only get the big bucks if that song sells millions and you can read plenty of articles about the paltry amounts artists get from streaming services like Spotify.

I paid $9.99 on iTunes for that Detroit Cobras album. How much of that do Rachel and Mary (Cobra) Ramirez get? Not nearly enough.

And, from that CD, on Friday night’s Riot you wil hear the Cobras version of a song done by the Vibrations in the late ’60s, Nothing But a Heartache.

Enjoy.

About johnnymaraca

host of Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot, the rockingest show on the radio. 60 years of rockin' rhythm and blues, from the late '40s pioneers like Louis Jordan to Elvis, Chuck Berry, CCR, Stray Cats, Ramones and tons more. Friday and Saturday nights at 7 on 97.7 the Beach, listen live at http://977thebeach.ca, and WRSG in Middlebourne, West Virginia, Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
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