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None of the Super Bowl Halftime Performers Will Be Paid This Year

·4 min read
None of the Super Bowl Halftime Performers Will Be Paid This Year

While enjoying delicious dips and spotting the new hilarious commercials during Super Bowl Sunday, you may start wondering about the championship game's iconic and always-over-the-top halftime show. One popular question folks seem to have revolves around costs, particularly how much the headliners — this year, it's Dr. Dre, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar — will make for taking the Pepsi-sponsored stage.

When the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals play until the second quarter and the hip-hop all-star team takes over, Super Bowl history will be made. In previous years, hip-hop artists have made guest appearances for headliners, such as M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj for Madonna, or Travis Scott for Maroon 5. But the 2022 halftime show is guaranteed to be one for the hip-hop history books.

Pepsi’s VP of Marketing, Todd Kaplan, said in a statement: “Artists like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg were at the forefront of the West Coast hip-hop revolution, so to be able to bring them back to L.A., where it all began alongside Eminem, Mary J. Blige and Kendrick Lamar will prove to be an epic, unforgettable celebration of the impact hip hop has today ..."

Of course, you might assume that the NFL would pay these artists for agreeing to the gig, especially given the number of eyeballs watching the show (last year's halftime show starring the Weeknd had roughly 96 million viewers). But as it turns out, this assumption is far from reality. In fact, artists performing at the Super Bowl halftime show historically have made nothing.

Wait, why don't Super Bowl halftime performers get paid by the NFL?

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most coveted gigs on live TV with millions tuning in each year. Despite this, the organization has not paid its star performers — Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, The Black Eyed Peas, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake and others — in years. According to Forbes, the NFL offered 2020's headliners, Shakira and J.Lo, "union scale," which is "a fraction of the six- and seven-figure sums" the artists usually earn regularly.

"We do not pay the artists. We cover expenses and production costs," said NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter to Forbes in 2016.

The all-star group can learn a few things from last year’s headliner, the Weeknd. The singer, while preparing for Super Bowl LV, told Billboard that he was adamant about making his 15-minute set a true "cinematic experience." To achieve that, the Weeknd’s manager Wassim "Sal" Slaiby revealed that the artist contributed $7 million of his own money to make the production "what he envisioned." This amount was on top of what the sports organization fronted to cover the usual travel and production fees of the Pepsi-sponsored event, which has been reported to cost as much as $10 million.

That said, there are some huge benefits for participating artists beyond a big paycheck from the NFL. Because so many people are guaranteed to watch the event, artists are given unmatched exposure and an opportune time to promote their latest albums, tours and projects. Plus, historically speaking, the 15-minute show has resulted in some pretty hefty financial gains for the singers. According to Spotify, after 2020’s Super Bowl halftime show, Shakira’s streams spiked by 230% while JLo’s went up 335%. Meanwhile, Justin's music sales rose 534% after his appearance in 2018.

Though halftime performers have incentive to get up on stage without pay, reports have recently surfaced about the monetary compensation for dancers at the major TV event. According to the Los Angeles Times, there are two brackets of dancers: professionals who appear next to the headliners and are paid $15 per hour; volunteers known as "field cast participants" who aren't required to learn choreography. But the volunteer system at the Super Bowl might soon change in response to recent reports about monetary compensation for everyone involve.

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