"Idol" creator Fuller marks iTunes milestone
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller on Monday marked a digital music milestone, and said he was looking to the Internet and other digital platforms for the next big thing in global entertainment.
At a time of crisis in the recording industry, Fuller's roster of singers which includes "Idol" winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, British singer Annie Lennox and The Spice Girls, have sold 160 million songs on iTunes, his artist management company 19 Entertainment said.
Fred Bronson, author of "The Billboard Book of Number One Hits", called Fuller's 160 million iTunes tally "historic" in a decade which has seen album sales slump and cheaper, digital sales soar.
"He is without question the biggest manager of the digital age," Bronson said.
The British entrepreneur teamed up "American Idol" with iTunes at the Apple music store's 2003 launch, spotting its potential to capitalize on the TV singing show's appeal and the tens of millions of fans who watch it weekly.
"I felt there was a real synergy with what I do, which is launching new artists and TV shows, and what iTunes does, which is to sell music in an immediate and interactive way," Fuller told Reuters in a rare interview.
According to the world recording industry group IFPI, physical sales of music fell by 12.7 percent globally in 2009 while digital music sales rose by 9.2 percent to $4.3 billion -- more than 10 times the digital market value in 2004.
The artists Fuller represents have also sold more than 100 million CDs in North America over the last 10 years, 19 Entertainment said. Continued...