American Idol is perhaps the most influential show in television and music history. It is broadcast in over 100 countries, has launched the careers of numerous singers and performers nominated for and awarded Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards, driven the FOX network to the #1 position among the coveted 18-49 demographic, and set the blueprint for a generation of competitive reality programs.
When it comes to reaching audiences and driving sales, there is no bigger stage. According to Nielsen research, after a song is performed on American Idol, the positive sales impact remains eight weeks following the performance. American Idol contestants have sold over 100 million tracks since the show's inception. At one point, American Idol contestants commanded over 2% of overall album sales, more than doubling the show's impact on music sales from under 1% in 2003.
More than a show, American Idol is a cultural juggernaut and, in an age of fragmented audiences and niche offerings, an ongoing testament to the power of big, high concept entertainment.