Younison, a pressure group for the European music industry that formed last year, has issued a charter demanding that artists receive their fair share of digital revenues and calling for more transparency in the accounting and distribution of these revenues.

Some 200 members of the music community attended a meeting in Antwerp. Younison represents artists, authors, managers and labels. The group is backed by the Business Software Association (BSA), a lobby group that, according to Younison director Kelvin Smits, has a parallel interest in the fight against online piracy.

Under the banner "Stand up for your rights," Younison wants to challenge policy makers to push the publication of the Belgian government's long-delayed review of the current framework for collecting societies.

The charter issued by Younison states that digital revenues should be collected and distributed in a transparent way, calls for a European restructuring of authors' rights associations to ensure greater accountability, and urges these associations to add all their digital revenues into the collective funds without any unnecessary delays to be distributed to their members. The charter was signed by over 400 artists.

In an effort to get the issue on the international agenda, Smits also contacted the Featured Artists' Coalition (FAC) in the U.K., which deals with similar issues.

"Transparency and control of all revenues collected in our behalf is crucial," advocates Tom Barman of Belgian alternative act Deus. "If we lose the income generated by digital music distribution, we lose the petrol fuelling our creative engine."

Smits says that musicians' and authors' collection societies need to avoid delays in distributing revenues.

"It's essential that the modus operandi of these societies becomes more transparent in the way they collect, spend and distribute revenues they administer on behalf of artists and authors," Smits says, pleading for new accountability standards on a European level.

Stijn Meuris, singer and songwriter with the band Monza, questioned whether Belgian collecting society SABAM is "adequately structured" to deal with the growing market of legal digital downloads in the country.

Although Younison's efforts were applauded by some domestic artists, others have questioned the methods of the recently formed pressure group. GALM, which represents Belgian authors and composers, has taken a different approach.

"We rather believe in fighting the problem from within: at the recent general meeting of SABAM, we successfully pleaded for a more democratic voting structure and the abolishment of extremely high pensions for SABAM's board members," said the GALM board in a statement.