Do Bands Pay To Perform at The Super Bowl?

With rumors that the NFL asks artists to pay up if they want to headline the halftime show, we get to the bottom of whether or not musicians pay to perform at the Super Bowl

A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with a good friend of mine and he told me that musicians actually pay a good sum of money in order to perform at the Super Bowl. I quickly dismissed the concept by stating “Why would anyone pay to perform at the Super Bowl? They should be the ones getting paid.” It didn’t really make sense to me, especially considering the popularity of those artists: Madonna, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars.. It just couldn’t be true.

A few days later, this so-called fact kept bothering me; My buddy is pretty reliable after all. I decided to get down to the bottom of this.

Do musicians get paid to perform at The Super Bowl?

Before I began looking for the answer of whether they pay or not, I needed to eliminate the alternate scenario: Do they even get paid?

I stumbled upon this article by New York Times that states:

“The N.F.L. does not pay an appearance fee, though it does cover all of the expenses for the band and its often ample entourage of several dozen stagehands, family and friends.”

“The N.F.L. does not pay an appearance fee, though it does cover all of the expenses for the band and its often ample entourage of several dozen stagehands, family and friends.”

Bands notice a significant increase in both album sales and concert attendance immediately following the event if they headline it. For example, Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits album sales tripled just a week after he performed. Madonna's gross rose 165% in 2012 while The Who's jumped 392%.

Both Beyoncé and Bruno Mars respectively announced and started selling tickets to their upcoming concerts the day after the Superbowl. Those concerts were widely successful.

It makes sense, they’re getting a ton of promotion during the most watched television program of the year. This isn’t only limited to artists, brands who advertise during the Super Bowl see increases following the event. Why else would they pay millions for a 30 second spot?

If brands are able to pay the big bucks for half a minute, does the same apply for artists who get 12 minutes and change of the spotlight?

Do bands pay to play at the Superbowl Halftime show?

The Wall Street Journal posted this article about how the NFL allegedly approached Katy Perry, Rihanna and Coldplay to perform at the 2015 Halftime show.

This was confirmed by Katy Perry who was ultimately chosen as this year’s headliner. During a chat with The Associated Press, Katy confirmed that she was asked to but didn’t pony up for the chance to perform at the gig:

“I put my foot down very early in the courtship […] I said, Look guys, here's where I draw a line in the sand. I want to be invited on my own merits and not with some fine print.”

“I put my foot down very early in the courtship […] I said, Look guys, here's where I draw a line in the sand. I want to be invited on my own merits and not with some fine print.”

Good for her. She’s a big draw and she shouldn’t need to pay. After all, last year’s (2014) game had 112.2 million viewers while the Halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers drew 115.3 million.

So it’s true, the NFL does ask bands to put down some cash if they want to perform at their event.

Now that we’ve confirmed that the NFL has asked at least Katy Perry to pay, we only have one question left to answer.

Has any band ever paid to perform at the Halftime show?

It doesn’t look like it. Several of the bands who have played at the Halftime show, including The Black Eyed Peas and the late Michael Jackson, confirmed that the NFL didn’t give them a dime for their efforts but no one has ever stated publicly that they’ve had to pay.

All signs of the NFL asking bands to pay stems from the 2015 bid. With the artists having so much to gain from the show, it was only a matter of time before the greedy NFL decided to make them pay for their 12 and a half minute commercial.

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