Comments about record labels resisting the digital revolution. Remarks about how the recording biz must change with the times or go the way of yesteryear’s 8-track tapes and 45 rpm adapters. Yeah, nothing new there.

Except that the remarks weren’t made by an industry watcher or a so-called expert. This time the remarks come from Guy Hands.

Who is Guy Hands? He’s the CEO of Terra Firma, the private equity firm that made news two months ago when it purchased EMI.

In other words, Hands is EMI’s new owner. And he’s not all that pleased with the recording industry’s digital track record.

Hands apparently made his comments in a confidential e-mail sent to staffers, according to Britain’s

“The recorded music industry … has for too long been dependent on how many CDs can be sold,” Hands wrote. “Rather than embracing digitalisation and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, the industry has stuck its head in the sand.”

Hands’ comments were in reaction to Radiohead’s latest Internet adventure where the band sells its latest album, In Rainbows, directly to fans in the form of digital downloads. What’s more, Radiohead lets fans pay what they think the new album is worth.

Hands called Radiohead’s marketing ploy “a wake-up call which we should all welcome and respond to with creativity and energy.” He warned that unless the recording industry changes its business practices, such as using profits derived from top-tier artists and bands to subsidize up-and-coming talent, other acts could follow Radiohead’s lead.

Which might happen sooner than later. Trent Reznor recently posted on the Nine Inch Nails Web site that he is finally free of his corporate masters, saying, “… it gives me great pleasure to be able to finally have a direct relationship with the audience as I see fit and appropriate.”

Another recording industry practice Hands wasn’t too thrilled about was giving artists hefty advances in return for a major chunk of sales revenue.

“Why should [established recording artists] subsidize their label’s new talent roster – or for that matter their record company’s excessive expenditures and advances?” Hands asked.

Those tempted to blow off Hands’ remarks as those made by someone who doesn’t understand the recording biz might want to read a statement describing Terra Firma’s investment strategy that appears on the company’s corporate Web site.

“Since its launch in 1994, Terra Firma has focused on buyouts of large, asset-rich businesses – often with complex structural or regulatory issues – which are in need of strategic, operational or management change. It is these attributes, rather than any specific sector, that determines where Terra Firma will invest.”

Kind of explains why they bought a record label, doesn’t it?