It was a matter of time though it has taken longer than expected. Guess partnerships kept things from splitting at the seams. But now, former “Idol” contestants are being dropped by their record labels, especially those who won recording contracts with Sony Music after winning on the television talent show.

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These signings being dropped have been happening around the world with great regularity, but word is that, soon, it will really hit those from “American Idol” seasons past.

Ruuben Studdard and Taylor Hicks were both dropped by Sony’s J Records a few years ago and Clay Aitken has moved from RCA to Decca. Last week he left Decca for who knows and who cares where.

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“Idol” fans spout “numbers” and “chart positions” way too easily without understanding how meaningless these figures are to a music company and its bottom line.

“Idol” has always been quiet about sales of records as it is none of their business. But, the sales of iTunes downloads during the series- huge numbers and the largest by any one “company”- have been trumpeted loudly.

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Meanwhile, Hicks, Studdard, Aitken won’t be the last of what I call the “Sony Music American Idolers Purge”.

The show moving to Universal Music as its music partner has quickly made those signed earlier to Sony looking as if inheriting “baggage” they no longer need.

With a firm relationship with Simon Cowell and his “The X Factor” and no ties to “Idol” why keep those on still mainly known through the show? Sure, it’s personal and it’s business.

Honestly, as a business, how long can any label in this day and age and without something like the “Idol” machinery be able to carry a Jordin Sparks, a Katherine McPhee, a Danny Gokey or a Fantasia Barrino? The latter artist needed a “suicide bid” to make her “known” again and had a totally unwarranted Number One in the process.

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Without naming names, there are a few very good contestants from “American Idol” of seasons past- and not that far back- whose recording careers with Sony are tenuous at best. If their first albums did only “okay” despite being linked to the hype built around the Season from which they came, what chance is there of their second and third albums doing any better?

What touring? The touring market has dropped right off for everyone, and there are few takers for “Idolers” other than in Singapore and the Philippines. They have become another “dying brand”. They have also become a liability to music companies- the smaller ones that signed up the B Grade contestants who came 6th, 7th, 20th etc- and a major like Sony which needs to get back to working their “priority acts”.

So, where is all this leading? I would take a bet and say that Universal Music picks those from the show they want- and know they can work with and improve upon.

Speaking of which, Studdard has probably already signed with one of their labels like Motown. Nigel Lythgoe believes in him, likes him and will look after him. As will Motown.

As for those from this season, the music company will be very careful who they sign and though having first option on signing up any of the others, would have learnt from Sony’s mistakes and understand that fame, today, is even less fleeting than 15 minutes.         

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