On Amazon’s placeholder page for a future So You Think You Can Dance DVD, 75 “reviews” praise the show and beg Fox and the show’s producers to release it on DVD. But SYTYCD will not be released on DVD because of music rights issues.
In response to a question on Twitter, executive producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe revealed that they “can’t clear music for a DVD.”
That means that they won’t pay because it is prohibitively expensive, which especially makes sense here: The series uses original recordings, not just the music, and that usage requires both publisher and master recording rights. Each episode contains multiple songs, so that’s potentially hundreds of clearances–and who knows how much in fees–for the show’s multiple seasons.
This problem has kept many TV shows from being released on DVD because, as Wired explains, the cost is “prohibitively high.” One show mentioned in that 2005 article, WKRP in Cincinnati, has since been released on DVD, but with different music, making it an entirely different show.