American Idol comes exclusively to the iTunes Store

Apple and Fox have announced that the performances of American Idol semifinalists are, for the first time, available for download from the iTunes Store, the day after they’re broadcast on television.

The iTunes Store will have the music tracks of the top 24 semifinalists available for purchase for 99 cents per song, with the full videos of the top 12 finalists performances also available for $1.99 each, beginning March 11.

American Idol viewers can also pre-order performances from their favorite contestants from the iTunes Store, which will be automatically downloaded the day after the show airs.

Downloads aren’t the only part of the Apple-Idol relationship. According to Variety, iTunes will sponsor streaming of performances on the show’s Web site. What’s more, the entertainment trade publication reports, the iPod will become the show’s official digital music player while the iPhone becomes its official handset; those products are likely to be integrated into future episodes, similar to products from other American Idol sponsors such as Coke, AT&T, and Ford.

Updated at 10 a.m. PT to add more information about the Apple-American Idol partnership.

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