Many of us are familiar with the music of Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Jordan Sparks and Last Year Idol Winner Scotty McCreery . As Idol Winners they were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce albums. Last year 10 Recordings advanced McCreery upwards of $300,000 upon completion of his first album and this year Phillips could receive even more up to three times that if he produced at least six albums. These advances are then paid out of the singer's song royalties. BUT what about our beloved Runners Up? Remember Lauren Alaina the sweet Country Georgia Peach from last year. Lauren was given an album deal last year and still recieved over $150,000 after placing second. Apparently 19 Recordings Inc. has the option to handle albums and recordings of these runners up for several years after the show season finishes. As we look back at other contestants like Daughtery and Jennifer Hudson we have to wonder how they were treated and what deals they were given. Possibly these artists were given a guarenteed album deal with a hefty advance to be paid back out of future royalties. What about the extremely talented Jessica Sanchez? It seems is is tough for very talented girls to win the coveted title on American Idol. Perhaps there are more young females inclined to vote for good looking young male artists as we saw the last few years winnings dominated by young male artists. If American Idol focuses on single song sales for its runners up rather than advances for full albums the artists will be paid less. Possibly due to the economy, but also likely due to increased internet sales and the ability to buy and sell single songs on facebook it seems the recording industry has shifted toward single-song sales in recent years. Look at artists fan pages on facebook and you will see single songs for purchase all over facebook. The internet, facebook, ipod and iphone and itunes have changed the way we buy music. So if the very talented Jessica Sanchez were only asked to record four songs she could be paid as little as $30,000 in advances. Instead of a guarenteed album deal for the runner up she may face a staggered period of development that pays out less in advances but requires only single songs rather than full albums. Let's face it, American Idol contestants are not hurting due to contract reductions based on single song deals. They have opportunities to earn money with Disney appearances, merchandise profit cuts and the famous American Idol tour. If we get to know them and like them they could face the succes of fourth runner up Daughtry. But what does this story mean to struggling artists out there trying to build a career in music? What if they do not get picked for American Idol. Buyers purchased over a billion single songs last year as opposed to the over 300 million albums that were sold. It seems the place to build a career could be on the internet and you do not have to spend thousands of dollars to have a quality site! My friend Susan Dale recently sold a television show to producers after three years of building relationships on the internet. Her daughter Anastasia Richarson has been using a virtual social media agency for only $50.00 a month to promote herself as a new country artist. In less than a month she has almost 100 followers and communication from record labels. We have been using The Total Social Media Agency ourselves and have developed a reach of 80,000 in three months. Check out these sites and let us know what you think! Roberta Robinson