The 58th Super Bowl is coming up – like in 2020, the San Francisco 49ers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs – and with it, one of the most sought-after gigs in the music industry: the Halftime Show, this year's performer being Usher.
The annual Halftime Show has famously made space for legends such as Beyoncé, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and many more to remind fans of their decades-long contributions to music – and promote upcoming projects – all in a 13-minute performance, while raking in non-football-fan viewers for the NFL.
It has long been a largely mutually beneficial relationship between artists and the NFL in terms of exposure, however, that doesn't necessarily extend to the financials of it all, at least not for artists.
Do artists get paid for the Super Bowl Halftime Show?
To put it simply, no, artists have never been paid for their performances, with the exception of a roughly $1,000 pay-out based on a minimum wage union scale from the six or seven-figure check they'd typically receive for such an act. Back in 2016, NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter confirmed as such to Forbes, however they do cover "expenses and production costs," as well as travel expenses.
Not only do artists not get paid, but in fact the NFL once tried to have musicians pay them instead for a chance to hit the stage. In 2015, artists such as Beyoncé, Coldplay, and Katy Perry received the proposition, though they ultimately declined.
How much does the Halftime Show cost?
The NFL may not be footing the bill when it comes to the performers, but they do have to dig deep into their pockets to cover the makings of the performance, which is historically both costly and challenging.
"It's like a big jigsaw puzzle," said Roc Nation producer Dan Parise to Reuters. To make the magic happen, production requires months of planning and thousands of workers to meticulously turn the football field – without tarnishing it for the players – into a spectacle-filled mega stage, all in under about thirty minutes, and for a 13-minute long performance.
The cost of such a feat has varied in the past, though Reuters reported that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's joint performance in 2020 cost about $13 million to produce. For his 2021 performance, The Weeknd reportedly put in $7 million of his own money to accomplish his vision; that same year, the NFL came under fire when some Halftime Show dancers revealed they participated as unpaid volunteers, after which SAG-AFTRA negotiated with the league to ensure professional dancers were paid.
What do artists get for the Halftime Show?
All in all, exposure, particularly for upcoming projects, and a spike in streams and sales of their music catalog. Usher, for example, is set to release a new album, Coming Home, two days before the Super Bowl, and just announced a nationwide tour starting in August of 2024.
Moreover, per Forbes, last year's performance (Rihanna), brought in a whopping 118.7 million viewers, the most in TV history. In 2020, Newsweek reported that according to a spokesperson for Spotify, Shakira's music saw a 230% increase in streams, while JLo's increased by 335% after their show; similarly, Billboard reported that Justin Timberlake's music sales went up by 534% after his 2018 show.
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