The lead singer of the hottest new rock band Franz Ferdinand is "all for online song swapping".

Alex Kapranos will address students at Edinburgh University later today, giving his perspective on Internet file sharing and the ethical, legal and commercial issues surrounding song downloading, according to BBC Online.

Kapranos praises the Internet for giving wider access to music. He told BBC News Online: "I'm all for song swapping online. Downloading music from the Internet is something I do myself and something that I'd be keen to encourage.

"From my experience it isn't necessarily the musicians themselves that are against it, but companies involved in the music industry.

"The way the music industry is trying to regulate online sites at the minute is very heavy handed - fining kids for downloading songs is just crazy.

"File-sharing is something that has really helped us as a band in getting established. When Franz Ferdinand played a gig in New York for the first time, a lot of people there already knew our songs and were singing along.

"It was amazing because our album wasn't even released in the UK at that point, never mind the US. Without the Internet, we never would have had that reaction.

"For us it has been global word of mouth that has helped our progress, not hindered it."

"The Internet to me is like the radio, it's a way of hearing new songs and going to a shop to buy them. It can also whet your appetite to go out and buy a single or album you previously wouldn't have gone for."

He concludes by saying: "I don't think it is damaging musicians at all. Downloading music is as revolutionary an invention as the gramophone and I'm all for it."