Apple becomes major 'Idol' sponsor, iTunes won't divulge popularity
By Christopher Rocchio, 02/19/2008
Move over Coke, AT&T and Ford -- American Idol has a hip, new sponsor.
Fox and Idol's producers have announced Apple has become the show's fourth major sponsor with a partnership that includes making iTunes the exclusive home for downloads of the show's seventh-season performances.
Beginning with this week's performances by the Top 24 semifinalists, fans can purchase tunes sung by contestants for 99-cents each. Starting March 11 -- the day before Idol 7's Top 12 finalists are revealed -- fans will also be able to purchase full video of performances for $1.99.
In addition, fans will also be able to pre-order performances, which will then be automatically downloaded the day after the show's broadcast airs.
A special section of the iTunes store has been created to cater to Idol fans -- however unlike other content sold via the store, where shows and musical tracks are ranked by popularity, Idol's iTunes site will not be releasing any sales information.
"iTunes and Fox are committed to presenting contestants in a fair and balanced manner online and on-air," reads a statement on the Idol iTunes site. "For this reason, sales performances from American Idol contestants from the current season will not be reflected in the iTunes charts."
Per the partnership, Apple's iPod will now serve as Idol's official digital music player and the iPhone will become the show's official handset.
Not surprisingly, AT&T is the iPhone's exclusive American service provider, so viewers should probably get used to seeing Idol 7 contestants gabbing on their iPhone while sitting in a Ford and sipping a Coke.