Here's How Much Super Bowl Halftime Performers Actually Make

On February 7, 2021, The Weeknd will join the likes of J-Lo, Shakira, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, and more when he takes the stage for the Super Bowl halftime show. Considering that the spectacle of outrageous proportions is, for some people, the whole reason they watch the game (well, that and the commercials), you'd think that the performers would make bank for their quick medley of hits. Full of dancers, dazzling lighting, fireworks and other special effects, impressive musicianship, and over-the-top costumes, the Super Bowl halftime show costs an absolutely ridiculous amount of money. (You'd think a simple wardrobe malfunction would be an easily avoidable mistake). With all that, you will probably be surprised to found out just how much the performers actually make for their appearances.

The short answer is, they make diddly-squat. That's right. According to CNBC, the Super Bowl halftime show can cost as much as $10 million, but the performers — some of the biggest names in popular music at the time — do the gig for absolutely free. You should really be more grateful and gracious the next time you go to criticize them while you woof down gallons of guacamole and who knows how many dozens of buffalo wings. Cut these guys some slack. They're working for free.

Admittedly, the decision to headline the halftime show isn't totally made out of the goodness of their hearts. There actually is something in it for the singers. So, why do they do it then?

Performing at the Super Bowl halftime show is a great way to boost record sales

As you might expect, even though they don't get paid by the NFL to shake their booties for us, they don't really do it without for no benefit whatsoever. Having millions of pairs of eyes glued to your image for 15 straight minutes can do wonders for your bank account. For example, when Justin Timberlake headlined the show in 2018, sales of his music skyrocketed a whopping 534 percent. And, according to Reuters, although critics and fans gave his Man of the Woods album a savage beating when it came out two days before the big game, his performance boosted his sales enough to get it to number one on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart. As Reuters further reported, even though Esquire said the album was a "disappointing" and "kind of embarrassing" album, and USA Today alleged it failed to "pull off its Americana-pop fusion," the halftime show performance helped it shoot to the top.

Timberlake's numbers were slightly better than those of Maroon 5, who saw a 434 percent rise in sales after their 2019 halftime show appearance, according to Market Watch. In recent years, however, it has been the ladies who have really taken the cake after the show. Sales of the songs J-Lo and Shakira sang at the 2020 halftime show increased by 1,013 percent after the performance. And Lady Gaga's sales skyrocketed 1,980 percent after her acrobatic show in 2017.

The 2021 Super Bowl halftime show will be The Weeknd's chance to get revenge on the Grammys

When the Grammys announced the nominations for the 2021 awards in November 2020, there was one name that was conspicuously missing from the list. You may remember how songs from The Weeknd's album After Hours – released in March 2020 — were extremely popular last year, but oddly enough, the singer wasn't nominated for a Grammy. And, according to Billboard, he was justifiably unhappy about the snub. Singles like "Blinding Lights," "In Your Eyes," and "Heartless" topped the charts last year, and yet his name was nowhere among the nominees. "The Grammys remain corrupt," the Canadian singer tweeted. "You owe me, my fans and the industry transparency."

The album was nominated for several other awards, and won an American Music Award. It was also featured on over two dozen lists of the best albums of 2020, including a number one spot on the list compiled by Complex and number three on the Billboard list. So the confusion and frustration behind the Grammys snub is indeed perplexing.

But the Super Bowl halftime show will be The Weeknd's chance to show that he doesn't need the award anyway. After Hours is an already super-successful album, and with the eyes of the world on his performance during the championship bout between the Chiefs and the Bucs, he just might see his sales go straight to the moon.