US TV talent show American Idol has a new distribution and marketing deal with Universal Music Group, having ditched its previous partner Sony Music. That means UMG now has first dibs on albums from a franchise that’s so far sold more than 120 million iTunes downloads alone, and which has generated between $400 million and $600 million of total music sales. “With Idol celebrating our 10th season, I wanted to inject some new power and weight behind our brand,” says American Idol boss Simon Fuller. The show was pioneering in making downloads available directly after shows aired on TV – a tactic that’s since been copied by Glee and will soon be adopted by the UK’s X Factor.

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