“American Idol” says goodbye to Sony

The long standing partnership between Sony Music Entertainment and “American Idol” is finally over. No reason has been made clear as to why the agreement between the two was not renewed.

The replacement for Sony, though, has already been announced. An official release stated that the Universal Music Group had signed a multiyear deal with the creator of “American Idol” Simon Fuller. As a result, UMG will be in charge of promoting and distributing albums released by “American Idol” finalists. Exact details of the deal have not been made public, but if it is similar to the deal that existed with Sony UMG will have first right of refusal to the Final 12.

It is estimated that “American Idol” has generated up to$600 million in music sales since it began. This figure also includes 120 million downloads via Apple’s iTunes application. The show has also put such stars as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and recently Adam Lambert on the map. It has also been the undisputed leader in ratings for 8 years with the only serious challenges coming this year.

But despite the success of the show, Sony has been suffering as of late due to poor sales. The only ray of hope for them has come from the unfortunate death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Jackson’s death fueled sales of the artist’s music giving Sony a much needed shot in the arm. Whether its waning fortunes were factor in the non-renewal of the “American Idol” agreement is not evident and no Sony representatives were available for comment.