Bressie, Barry Devlin and Steve Wall were on hand to launch Gavin Bonnar’s declaration at the RDS.

The Artists’ Charter, a declaration on the rights of artists to be paid for their work, has been launched at The Music Show in Dublin’s RDS.

A full Red Room, with many Show-goers watching from screens outside, were present to see Barry Devlin of Horslips’ read the declaration aloud (“in 1916 Proclamation style” joked moderator Colm O’Hare), before a star-studded panel discussed the document’s importance for the music industry.

Greeted by cheers from his fans delighted to be in the same intimate room as the singer, Bressie spoke frankly about internet piracy and how it essentially led his old band The Blizzards to split. “There was no revenue,” he sighed. “We were being robbed. That’s the reality of it.”

“It’s all well and good giving charters and lingo that might go over your head but the thing about it is, in reality, this affects a lot of people.” Of piracy itself, he said: “if you’re telling me it’s right, that’s a huge issue. I’ve been hugely affected by it.”

(l to r) Gavin Bonnar, Steve Wall, Barry Devlin & Bressie

Bressie talked about how it was Sharon Corr, who is married to Barrister Gavin Bonnar, who got him involved with Charter.

Bonnar is the man behind the Charter, which draws on Article 23 of the UN Declaration Of Human Rights and the statement that everyone is entitled to “just and favourable remuneration” for their work. Bonnar feels it is an important statement to make and that it should act as a spring board for action. He also argued that it is the $250 billion telecommunications industry (and companies such as Google) that are to blame for capitalising on illegal downloading and that “we as consumers of music haven’t been a great help to [artists].” He did, however, state that: “if you can identify the right, then you can find the remedy.”

 

Steve Wall talked about how different the industry is now compared with when he started his career and said of his forthcoming album: “I don’t think we’ll ever recoup what we put it.”

Questions came from the floor and luckily things ended on a positive note when Bressie was asked for advice on starting out in the business. Bressie apologised if the panel hard seemed negative and suggested that budding artists “find someone that believes in you.”

And, as Steve Wall put it finally: “It starts with the music. A great song will stand the test of time.”

Go to www.theartistscharter.org to read The Artists’ Charter.