Why The Weeknd Won’t Get Paid For The Super Bowl Halftime Show
The “Blinding Lights” singer is actually going to lose money: he contributes $ 7 million to the concert’s production budget.
In the 2020s, The Weeknd’s wasn’t bad: its single “Blinding Lights” spent four weeks atop the Billboard charts; his album After hours debuted at number one; and in November, it was announced that he would headlining the Super Bowl halftime show, one of the few live performances since the start of the pandemic. The only drawback ? He will not be paid to play. He will raise at least $ 1 million for a Pepsi commercial ahead of the game, but The Weeknd, known as Abel Tesfaye offstage, says he’s spending $ 7 million of his own money to put on the high-stakes show. While his team don’t say whether it goes towards pyrotechnics, a hologram, or a diamond encrusted microphone, they believe the payoff will be huge.
“The Super Bowl is an opportunity at the highest level,” says Wassim ‘SAL’ Slaiby, manager of The Weeknd.
While he’s the first, to our knowledge, to boast of spending his own money on the show, he’s by no means the first to happen for next to nothing. Stars from Justin Timberlake to Beyoncé have traditionally performed for free on the sport’s biggest stage in return for the visibility afforded by a TV audience of over 100 million people.
This opportunity is paying off in the form of spikes in both streaming and social media. The night Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed at the 2020 Super Bowl, purchases of songs performed increased 16-fold, according to Nielsen Music. Lopez and Shakira’s on-demand music streams increased 149% and 221%, respectively, the night and day after last year’s show. Lopez gained a total of 2,353,050 new social media followers in the week following the Super Bowl, according to analytics firm ListenFirst, while Shakira gained 610,823.
The NFL and Pepsi typically pay multi-million dollar production costs. While representatives for the NFL and Pepsi did not respond to a request for comment, last year’s show cost $ 13 million, according to Reuters. The Weeknd manager has confirmed that Pepsi and the NFL have once again escaped, but neither party will confirm how much was spent. The Weeknd’s performance could cost as much as $ 20 million.
The Weeknd plans to embark on its After hours tour next year, and in the past, StubHub’s traffic has jumped at least 50% for halftime acts after the Super Bowl, according to the ticketing site. These ticket sales translate into real money: While Lopez and Shakira have been unable to capitalize as the pandemic canceled their concerts, the average gross per city of Maroon 5 has increased from $ 200,000 to $ 1, $ 7 million after starring in the 2019 halftime show. Travis Scott, who also played that year, more than doubled his performance; it now makes over $ 1 million per show.
The Weeknd already has a lucrative touring business: Over the past five years, The Weeknd has earned over $ 205 million pre-tax, including $ 92 million in 2017, the year of his Starboy to visit.
“We live in a world where artists don’t really make money with music like we did in their golden years,” said The Weeknd. Forbes in 2017. “It doesn’t really happen until you’re on stage.”