Pro-music.org, the international recorded music industry's anti-piracy Web site, celebrates its first year today with the launch of what is billed as the first comprehensive directory of authorized mu

Pro-music.org, the international recorded music industry's anti-piracy Web site, celebrates its first year today with the launch of what is billed as the first comprehensive directory of authorized music sites from around the world.

The revamped directory links to more than 100 legitimate sites across the world, each offering 500,000-plus tracks on average. When Pro-music launched in May 2003, it listed about 20 sites in the United States and Europe, with an average offering of about 200,000 songs.

Moreover, this week has seen the introduction of an Italian-language version of the service, Pro-music.it. A German edition rolled out last August, followed by a French version in January.

"Pro-music has proved to be a hugely useful resource for journalists, opinion-formers, teachers, students and consumers," says Jay Berman, chairman/CEO of London-based IFPI, which spearheaded the initiative. "The site, along with the customized local versions, has become an important base on which to build awareness of the digital piracy problem, and of the growing number of legal digital music services."

The directory--which will be regularly updated--also offers information on the repertoire genre and number of songs available through each listed music site.

Originally launched to inform consumers of the legal alternatives to illegitimate peer-to-peer (P2P) song exchange activities, Pro-music.org was expected to have run its course after one year, say an IFPI spokesman.

According to the IFPI, the service attracts 25,000 average monthly visitors from about 100 countries, compared with 16,000 visits in its first six months.

The site also reports about 1,000 downloads a month, including songs and instructions on how to disable P2P software systems that allow users to distribute music files illegally.

"When Pro-music was launched, digital downloads were still in their relative infancy," says a spokesperson for OD2, the European digital-music service provider that pioneered several music sites in the region. "In the past 18 months in particular, the success of our partner sites and the increase in the number of subscribers show there is a growing appetite for safe, legal and consumer-friendly ways to get music online."