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‘Idol’ perfs on online turf

Fox to sell songs via skein's site, not iTunes

As nets pitch advertisers on the next big thing at the upfronts, the current big thing is going digital.

The most popular show in America took a big digital leap Tuesday night when AmericanIdol.com began selling downloads of performances from the Tuesday episodes.

As previously reported (Daily Variety, May 2), downloads of the perfs of the final 12 contestants are being sold for the desktop on AmericanIdol.com — though, notably, not via iTunes.

Video downloads will go for $1.99, audio downloads for 99¢. The entire episode will not be available.

Insiders say Fox had hoped to make the perfs available earlier in the season but were delayed by legal clearances. Still, deal leaves all of this week and part of next week for on-air promotion before the show goes off the air after the season finale May 24.

Deal, handled at the net by Fox digital division FIM, will see coin shared between that unit and producers Fremantle and 19 Entertainment.

Move ends a long period of waiting for fans and industry over “Idol’s” digital plans. Road to the deal was paved by a recent Fox pact to share revenue with affiliates.

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