'Paying for Downloads is Like Buying Air'

Yes, the above is the headline for St. Entienne keyboardist Bob Stanley's recent anti-music industry Op-Ed piece in the London Times. And it's a double whammy: in it he defends the practice of illegal downloading and simplistically defines the new business model for artists starting out: don't worry, the internet will do it all for you.

We love how artists who have done their stint in the record industry "machine" now enjoy telling us how the internet is the Holy Grail for unknown artists. Yeah, just get on MySpace, build a fanbase, tour the world and live happily ever after. Of course! What are these newbies thinking? The truth is, being on MySpace today is like having your record for sale in every Tower Records in the country 10 years ago: great, but if nobody knows it's there, what's the point?

Yes, you can get the necessary exposure on your own. But do you have the money to pay a publicist, the connections to get a slot on a good tour, the clout to appear on Conan? No? (Oh, that's right: it's the record comapnies--and rich kids--who have the resources to do that. Sorry.) You think plain old internet exposure is gonna make it all happen for you? Well if you do, start planning what to do with your Lotto winnings, 'cause you have the same chances of acheiving both.

Someone needs to ask the Bob Stanleys of the world to assume a new name, release their next album under the same circumstances they advocate for new, unknown acts and then tell us what they think.