The French market has its own ad-supported free music download platform, Airtist.

The new service went live in mid-December and is available for free, provided visitors complete a free registration process. Users can then download a DRM-free track after having been exposed to a 10 to 30-second video ad. Full albums currently cannot be downloaded in one hit.

Airtist, which originally launched as a paid download platform in September 2006, claims a catalog of 20,000 tracks from 100 labels.

Only a fraction of this repertoire is also available in the ad-supported section, which includes tracks provided by French indie label XIII Bis Records. Tracks are downloadable worldwide when the record label allows it.

Airtist co-founder Laurent Magnin tells each downloaded track pays €0.05 to the label, and €0.07 to authors and publishers collecting society Sacem.

"It is possible to make this model profitable", said Magnin.

Italian enterprise Downlovers claims to be Europe's first ad-funded free music download service. A joint venture between Milan-based Italian digital content provider Kiver and local promotions/PR agency It's Cool, Downlovers has been beta-testing since September.

New York-based Spiralfrog, which launched in September in the United States, has yet to set a date for a European launch.