Artist and advocate Terrany Johnson aka Tee Double is fighting the good fight
Multi-talented hip-hop artist Terrany Johnson (aka Tee Double) speaks out about radio royalties, the American Music Fairness Act and a life dedicated to empowering musicians.
A guest article by Chris Castle of MusicTechPolicy.
[Tee Double is speaking on the free “Radio Royalties and the American Music Fairness Act” live stream panel hosted by Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts, Austin Texas Musicians, SoundExchange, I Respect Music Austin, Austin Music Foundation and Artist Rights Watch on December 8 at noon CST. Register on Eventbrite. If you’d like to support the American Music Fairness Act, you can sign the petition to Congress here.]
1. Tell us a bit about your history as an artist and your work in the Texas music community.
Well I’ve been recording and releasing music since I was 9 in Austin, TX, around the same time I sent in my first demo which I self-produced and played at Warner Bros. Recordings. I have served on various boards such as the Texas Chapter of The Grammys, the Austin Music Foundation, Black Fret, a non-profit organization that gives grants to artists every year to further support their art. I am currently the founder of the Urban Artist Alliance which is a leader in music education for underserved creatives who never have access to the tools necessary to succeed in an ever-changing industry. Which recently won the Austin Business Chamber A-List award for Best Bootstrap FOR 2021.
2. Can you explain the radio royalties a bit as an artist and then as a songwriter? Sure. Royalties are one of the many ways artists can continue to enjoy their art on new platforms. As an artist the radio royalties are not paid to us even though we are the driving force behind why the song is a hit or synced for commercials etc. We’re as much of a contributing factor as the song itself. As a songwriter of which I am both an artist and a songwriter in my catalog, I get these monies which, depending on the frequency of the song, can generate a bit of change. As an Indie you don’t get rich, but you kind of get a return on your time and effort to create the song that someone else (in my case, me) would play for.
3. When SoundExchange opened up a whole new source of income for webcasting and satellite radio, did it have an effect on your income as an artist? Any new platform is good if it also includes positive financial benefits for creatives. But the artist should not only limit their potential sources of radio income, as there are many channels through which to channel your art to add to that money. Education is essential and adding a unified front to tackle unfair practices or outdated laws that really hurt the livelihoods of creatives is a step many should take moving forward.
4. How will the American Music Fairness Act help working artists, especially those Blake Morgan calls “middle class artists”? The American Music Fairness Act will not only help “middle class artists” but also new artists who first publish music so that they can see the economic benefits of this art when it is broadcast on the radio. today and future technologies that will introduce new ways of sharing music. By keeping the small stations unharmed and making sure that the larger ones are held accountable to the artist who maintains their ability to remain economically viable through advertisements and so on is only a good thing. .
5. When I talk to artists about copyright policy issues, they often seem overwhelmed by the process and tend to defer to others. What advice do you have for artists to take action to get involved in the development of copyright policy? My advice would be to join organizations that have your best interests at heart. The Grammys on the Hill are great as they also have performers who come to their local representatives to advocate for their cause. Follow blogs and posts that speak to YOU and build a mental database of ever-changing ideas within the music industry. As I tell the artists I mentor, if this earns you a dime more, you need to be aware of it because music is not a rich man’s game but a long term journey. Stay the course and stay inspired.