Bruno Mars Receives $0 for His Superbowl Halftime Performance…

The Superbowl is one of the biggest stages in the world.

But does that mean performing musicians should be paid… nothing?

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“Though the league has attracted acts as varied as Beyonce, Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson to perform during its biggest game in the past, it has never paid any of them,” Time recently reported.

“We’re putting someone up there for 12 and a half minutes in front of the largest audience that any television program garners in the United States.  It’s a pretty good deal.  It’s the famous win-win for both parties.”

NFL Director of Programming Lawrence Randall.

*per player stat from Andrew Brandt of ESPN.


130 Responses

    • TuneHunter

      With 111 million Super Bowl viewers he will be a frequent choice on YouTube player.
      The power of advertising at work and 35 billion industry in 2025, Wow!
      Sorry, this is pathetic!

  1. A Regular Here

    We were asked to license music for the Pro Bowl. $ 0 offered.

  2. Ari Herstand

    I don’t know a musician on the planet that would turn down that gig for $0.

    I put every gig I get offered on a exposure/career opportunity vs. payment scale. If the gig offers lots of exposure with tons of career potential, I’ll take less pay. If I’m background music for a wedding, I’ll need a huge payment.

    Bruno’s album is #1 on iTunes today.

    He played his cards right. And put on a hell of a performance!

    • Vail, CO

      Ari, of course you WILL be offered that deal, but WHY are you being offered that deal (non-negotiable)? the NFL makes millions a minute directly off the halftime show.

      • Ari Herstand

        Forbes reported that the Black Eyed Peas were also not compensated (as Super Bowl musical guests typically aren’t), BUT all of their expenses (and hired guns) were covered. I imagine it’s the same deal for team Bruno.

        • Dry Roasted

          Please, please, please stop defending the NFL. No artist can afford that expensive show! The NFL cannot ask the band to pay for a super expensive production like that with absolutely salary. It would be unworkable from the start.

          Ari would you pay $3.8 million to play for free at the Super Bowl (which Pepsi pays $38 million to sponsor)? No, you wouldn’t. But bet you’ll play for free if we cover the tab. See how this little game works?

          No, you don’t. So a little history, and a little context are in order please. First off the NFL decided some decades ago, that they would take their Halftime when everyone was in the bathroom, and turn it into a big moneymaker and bring in giant sponsors. So that’s a list of many, perhaps Bridgestone or Pepsi or Frito-Lay or Budweiser, they are paying for the biggest show razzle-dazzle on the Earth.

          NO artist can afford this except for the most insanely rich, and even they would think very hard about this!

          • dtdb13

            All the expenses are paid for… the record label usually pick up any other extra costs, the stage and equipment are provided for the show, The NFL take care of Hotel and travel costs..

          • Lauren B

            That artist may then have to reimburse the record label for such help. We do not know what is written in Bruno’s contract.

          • Jeff Robinson

            No one is asking the question and the elephant is in the room, Bruno did not get paid for the performance, but how much did he PAY to be on the halftime show? Did he pay it or did Pepsi pay?

          • Jeff Robinson

            Okay, so more rational thinking here, Pepsi featured Bruno Mars in that old time football commercial throughout the season- which means Pepsi was paying Bruno Mars. Likely, as a trickle-over, synergistic event, Pepsi also got him the Superbowl gig because of them having him signed as an artist. So a different question, what was Bruno’s deal with Pepsi corporation? THAT is where his payment came from.

          • Jeff Robinson

            Who knew Beyonce’s deal with Pepsi was worth $50 million over ten years?

      • FarePlay

        Dare I use the word? It is about integrity. It is about respect. As I say about online piracy, it isn’t just about what you can do. Musicians aren’t paid by the Superbowl, because the organizers can’t afford to pay, but because they can get away with it.

        And don’t get me started on the obscene amounts of money most professional athletes are paid.

        • TuneHunter

          Ari, You are pathetic too.
          All your great monetization avenues you bring to the table are just little hopeless sparks in the land of FREE. Music is for SALE and should be SOLD – internet is the best medium to do it.
          We must do it!
          We will see big boost to all current players and splitting 100B pot makes much more sense than fighting for survival on 17B slowly drifting to 35 billion plateau.

        • Gary

          You don’t know what you’re talking about. Please stop embarassing yourself.

          • TuneHunter

            We could have had computers in AD 400 – unfortunately to all of us middle ages came in and they where still burning folks on the stake in mid 1800!

            Current music marketing trends are more pathetic than concept of Sun spinning around the Earth.

            There is painless way out with no single loser.

    • Chris

      Yes it offers a hell lot of exposure and career oppurtunities.
      But let’s be real. Every artist, that performed on this stage, was already on top, already selling big.
      I doubt, that they aquired a lot of new fans, who didn’t know about them.
      Be it Beyonce, Bruno Mars, or Ma-freaking-donna.

      So that calculation doesn’t quite qork out for me. The People, who perform on the Late Night Shows or Shows like The Voice are getting a lot of exposure as well, but they also are getting well compensated for the work, they are doing.

      Everybody else gets paid on the SuperBowl night, and I doubt that they would do it free, so why not the musicians?

      • okaydokay

        what is the deal here? they are OFFERING an opportunity for an incredible amount of exposure as an artist to play a 12 minute show. An artist that is lucky enough to be offered an opportunity like that then DECIDES whether or not they would like to accept the opportunity. It is not an extortion because artists of that caliber obviously have other options. They are clearly weighing the benefits of doing the performance against the fact that they aren’t getting paid up front and then choosing to perform. Bruno has undoubtedly garnered thousands of new fans.. this is a ridiculous argument..

      • Jeremy

        Actually, I didn’t listen to Bruno Mars ever before that halftime show. Now I am listening to him.

  3. GGG

    Well, there’s two things at play here. The NFL DOES pay for everything else, which may actually include his band since they aren’t “Bruno Mars” the performer. They are hired guns. Everything related to the performance from the moment Bruno stepped on a plane to fly to NY to the moment he left was paid for by the NFL, which was easily well into 7 figures.

    Having said that, I hate the word exposure and it’s silly they didn’t pay him anything. But your assertion that not one musician on stage got paid may be false.

    • Elson

      Actually, Bruno Mars’ band is his touring band, and a few members are very close friends of his, and the drummer is is own brother. There might be a couple hired guns there but these are musicians he has worked with closely for a long time.

      • GGG

        Right, they still aren’t “Bruno Mars” though. I certainly may be wrong but I’m willing to bet Bruno himself is the only entity in Bruno the business entity. They are still hired, unless Bruno Mars has been contractually drawn up as a band.

        • NB

          Bruno Mars is the band, not the person.. And yes, they should absolutely get paid. The fact that this is even a discussion is ludicrous

          • GGG

            Wikipedia tells me the band is called the Hooligans. So you’re wrong in that the band is Bruno Mars. What we don’t know is who was signed to the label and/or contracted to perform at the halftime show. “Bruno Mars” and whoever that artist brings or “The Hooligans” (which seems like it includes Bruno Mars) and they just market it as Bruno Mars because that’s who people know.

  4. TuneHunterWinLOL

    This is why we need Discovery Moment Monetization!

    The 108 million people who made the mistake of watching this, will have to pay and we’ll turn all the football clubs and TV Channels into music stores. After that, we’ll convert 100.000 radio channels and millions of websites into music stores too, and we will be rolling in money. We can easily have a 100 billion dollar industry next month.

    Let’s do it tomorrow.

  5. Elson

    Wait, just because someone puts a “fact” on an image and shares it on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. The halftime show was sponsored by Pepsi, so it very might well mean the performers got their check from Pepsi and not the NFL directly. So to say they got $0 (from the NFL) might be true, but it does not necessarily mean they did not get paid. Sources please!

  6. @mattadownes

    Same as the radio stations that host these monster Christmas events. KROQ acoustic Christmas, Live 105 Almost Acoustic Christmas, etc.

    “We’ll continue to play your music on our station which will result in performance royalties, album/single sales and fast selling local and regional live performances. In return you will receive $0 compensation while we make hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross box office receipts. We’ll pick up your expenses (flights, hotels, catering, local transportation) but we’re not paying your typical guarantees.”

    The agreement is understood between the artist, its agent and management.

  7. Andre

    If Bruno Mars authored or co-authored any of the songs he performed, won’t he get a boatload of public performance royalties?

  8. Jordan

    In my experiences, when you perform on network television, which the SuperBowl was, you most certainly get compensated. As a “hired gun”, I have been paid hundreds of dollars performance, but have never been privvy to what the actual artist gets paid.
    However, yes, all expenses were paid to the artist, his band, crew, and management team. That I am sure of. But, this is seen as a PR/Press event by artists, where you don’t get paid, but you get a huge amount of exposure. And as someone listed above, his album is at #1 right now. So, not getting paid, but he makes up for it in straight up sales in 1 day. those are sales he would not have had, without reaching 100,000,000 people at once.
    I know it sounds silly, but it’s still worth it to do for free.

  9. Chris S...

    If the acts think about it like this, maybe there’s a win – win as described.
    What would it cost to produce a show for however many millions of viewers?
    1 -5million, give or take…well Bruno Mars just saved that money and became
    A household, media, sports and American conversation….

  10. Vic

    Let’s hope Paul Resnikoff got paid $0 for his in-depth internet journalism.

  11. Roger

    Play for no Pay is standard in exchange for promotional consideration is standard in many cases. The Radio Stations have made it an art for PIMPING Talent. They expect bands to perform in exchange for airplay, The stations handle ticketing and they make lots of money of admission to the Concert. The bands do get paid . ITs seems like a fair exchange( KInda) … I wonder how it translate’s into sales.. Having my Grand Parents and the whole family aware of the RHCP or Bruno Mars isnt gonna sell any albums or downloads in their house..

  12. Bond, James

    I mean, Bruno Mars is currently an extremely popular musician, who has made an absolute fortune. The fact that he did ONE gig absolutely free, with ALL expenses paid (that would mean they covered the show, the crew, flights, food, etc) isn’t really a big deal. All it did was make all of the money he just made selling all of those records completely profit, which is an absolutely brilliant marketing plan. He plays one SINGLE show, free of charge for him, but spending NO money, and he makes millions of dollars over night. How is it wrong? Plus, HE would have to agree to it before hand. It wasn’t like the NFL said “We’ll pay you 5 MILLION DOLLARS!!” and then were like “SIKE!” He knew. So, in that case, IT’S NOBODIES BUSINESS ANYWAYS, SO WHAT’S IT MATTER?

  13. FarePlay

    This demonstrates how messed up this entire situation has become. What would be valuable here is to take a historic look at this policy and determine if there was a time when the half time talent was paid and when that was. I would also want to know what other super bowl “providers” are not paid.

    I guess we have 2 schools of thought here.

    1. The Value of exposure.
    2. The message it sends.

    To my thinking, there’s something really insulting about the non-payment scenario. As they would say in the Godfather; “Where’s the Respect?” At the very least, the superbowl needs to make a Significant contribution to a non-profit of the performers choosing, if they had any class at all.

    Besides, Bruno Mars was the best thing about that shitty game. And I’m not even a huge Bruno Mars fan, although he did rock the joint with joy.


  14. Richard Haick

    This is promotional stuff. Jay Leno and David Letterman aren’t paying bands to come on. It’s free advertising. Think about this. If Bruno Mars wanted to run a commercial to promote his album and tour, it would have cost him $4million for 30 seconds of air time, plus the cost to produce the commercial. So, if you do the math, 12 minutes times $8million = $96million. So, essentially, Bruno Mars got “paid” $96million to perform at the Super Bowl. It’s just that he immediately spent it on a 12 minute commercial.

    • FarePlay

      Bruno Mars, the Rolling Stones. Tom petty are draws. Many people who would change channels or leave the room stay to see this paid sponsorship event. You figure it out.

      • GGG

        I agree here. Whether people enjoy the artist playing or not, most people stay tuned in (or at least don’t change the channel) to see what they will do. They are as much as a draw as the NFL is giving them “exposure.” Which is even stupider being used around Bruno Mars…like he’s some midlevel artist about to break through. Dude’s already famous, he’s had like 5 hit or close to hit singles in the last two years.

    • FarePlay

      No Richard, they added the Bruno Mars catalogue to their free streaming playlist. So that 96 million dollar you so freely throw around was worth $?. Priceless.

    • Ryan

      I played in a band that played on Letterman, and we got paid for it. It’s a union gig so everybody gets what they earn.
      Music is a service that requires a tremendous amount of work. How hard would it be for the NFL to give Bruno Mars fifty grand for that performance? It’s a matter of principle. People pay for what they value.

      • Will Riley

        Ryan you are absolutely correct. Not everyone can sing, or play an instrument. Me? Im effing retarded when i try to play guitar and i sound like a dying cat when i try to sing. So i have to perform actual physical labor to get paid. I admire people who can play, sing, and get paid for their talents. PAY THE MAN good god. Manning gave far less of a performance and got paid 42 grand. dem logics..

      • jacobnehman

        Ryan –
        I believe this debate stopped with your comment. Yes, Bruno gets incredible exposure, and it is sort of like a commercial. So pay the guy 40 or 50K instead of 100K + that he may get for a concert appearance – or even less, but something to show that you value what he’s doing. Everyone’s talking about what Bruno’s getting out of this deal. The NFL is also getting something. What, you may ask?

        Bruno is preventing people from changing the channel to other more interesting halftime distractions. In other words, Bruno is helping to earn the NFL’s 12 minutes of advertising millions. He deserves some cash in hand for that. I’ve watched a lot of Super Bowls and if I was bored during the halftime show, I would just change the channel. There were definitely some entertaining alternatives. Bruno earned his keep. Exposure is nice, but it’s just an excuse for the NFL to be cheap where they can get away with it.

  15. Brian Stoltz

    NFL Gangsters! I wonder how much it cost the artist to do this? Musicians and tech people still have to be paid. Who pays this? The artists? Somebody does. Are the NFL so big that they manage to skirt around AFM, SAG & AFTRA?

  16. Brian Stoltz

    @RichardHaick, that is not correct. On Letterman, Leno and all network shows, AFTRA fees apply.

  17. Carole Magary

    Bruno Mars doesn’t the publicity you losers! Oh I forgot your the winners you stealing no tax paying corporate welfare non prophet moochers!

  18. Showmethemoney

    If they just want to trade their talent display for promoting their music sales then good for them. The commissioner is able to put more money in his pocket!

  19. Anonymous

    it’s really time this website join the modern world and stop inciting the crowd with class warfare click-bait. Bruno mars will become one of the richest performers in the world as a result of his “free” performance. If you believe he didn’t pay his sidemen out of his own pocket, then you don’t know how music works.

  20. Ryan Goldbacher

    Everyone needs to get over this!!!!!!

    The performance will take bruno’s guarantees from 700k to over a million a show plus his split points will also go down. I liked him before but now when he comes to Birmingham i’m going. You also have to remember he’s probably going to cash 500k check from his PRI for the performance. To the people who think this is unfair you don’t understand how the music industry works. Nobody gets paid for promotional stuff ever. Any TV radio performances ECT… are pro bono.

  21. Jack

    I’m not sure if there is a similar system in the US, but in the UK if a venue takes more than £1500 in ticket sales then 3% of that money goes to the PRS for royalties on music played. If this is the case and the stadium used for the superbowl is comparable to the O2 arena here then that’s £1000,000 per night, which means £30,000 of royalties to be split between the people who own the intellectual rights to the songs.

    That’s how the band who supported Foo Fighters got paid £150 a night for playing but managed to pay their entire University tuition from playing 4 gigs with them.

    It’s quite possible the royalties come separately from the NHL and actually come under the venue’s responsibility.

  22. Lakey

    I find it funny…one second people complain famous mainstream musicians make too much money…now they’re getting upset that the musician is not getting paid for a 12 minute performance.

    I’m sure they get to make the same amount as the winning players when it is all said and done.

    • FarePlay

      No we don’t. We complain about athletes who make obscene amounts of money.

  23. Anonymous

    If you want to rail against poor treatment of musicians, wait a week or two and talk about the Olympics. Hundreds of bands play at events all over the proceedings and get paid nothing. These are working musicians, not rich superstars who don’t need the money.

    • FarePlay

      It is comments like yours that really don’t help the situation. Criticizing Bruno Mars because he is successful as your platform to complain is counter-productive. As is people saying they would jump at the chance to play for free for exposure. Get the message right if you’re going to speak out.

      Musicians playing for free at the Olympics who we’re not superstars have a problem with the IOC and the producers of the Olympics, as Superstars have with the NFL when playing for Mega Events like the Superbowl for free. These same “Superstars” who you seem to have contempt for consistently step up to the plate and play for free to support causes every year, in the same way that tonight there will be home town bands playing for free to support something in their community.

      Let’s not distort the conversation by calling out successful musicians for a problem they have nothing to do with.

      • Anonymous

        you missed the point. Bruno is not the be criticized. The article’s headline is click bait meant to get our blood up about the shabby treatment of musicians in this case, but it’s not true. Bruno got more than an appearance fee and I have no quarrel with that at all. The hundreds of bands who will play at the olympics get nothing and gain nothing by doing so and I think THAT is wrong.

  24. Smitty

    …this is EXACTLY what’s wrong with this industry right now! Let the Fat Cats get paid and who gives a shit about everyone else? The NFL just made a FORTUNE and part of that comes from the draw of having Bruno Mars play the halftime show. Why can’t he get paid? Exposure? PLEASE! Last time I looked, sales of recorded music have been down for years. Oh, he’s #1 at iTunes right now. EXCUSE ME! So, he sold how many extra units/singles/downloads? Does that even add up to what he makes from ONE tour date at say, MSG?
    Also, while the NFL pockets millions from ALL sides, it determines it doesn’t have to pay an artist as important as any of it’s players IN the game or the people who work for them or behind the scenes, etc. Let’s just use that same idea all around: hey Meadowlands – we’re not paying you for hosting the game. You’ll get great exposure from it! Players – we don’t have to give you any bonus from playing this extra game, you already got paid from your team, right? TV commentators, newsmen, etc – we’re not paying you either. You got to see the game for free, right? Why doesn’t everyone get a piece of the pie…it’s a pretty big fuckin pie with 111 million viewers and all the revenue that generates…..

  25. Veteran Talent Buyer / Promoter

    Some of you guys think too small 🙁

  26. River Waters

    Mars and his management received a great deal in return for his investment (AND got his expenses covered which, with creative accounting, can account for a great deal more than just “expenses.” wink wink) And his sales will increase worldwide and so will his bookings, simply because of this show.

    Remember, he was not the reason an audience tuned in to the Super Bowl or even stayed through half-time. But the audience may have watched through the half-time ads because of him. So his commercial value to the organizers is limited.

    Look, if you can attract fans to come out to a venue and spend money, the venue will want you and then you have leverage. Even if you are a miserable performer — and there are many of these currently working and touring. But if you can’t attract, it’s on your own nickel until (and if) the time comes when people start to take notice.

    I agree you have to GET SOMETHING in return for performing. I do not perform unless I get something in return. I’d prefer to get cash, but there are in kind and intangible pay-offs as well. It’s a judgment call. But if you want to be paid, then why not minimum wage? Do you want to play two 45 minute sets at minimum?

  27. hippydog

    Why do I have the eerie feeling (deja vu?) that we have had this exact conversation 12 months ago?

  28. theMickster

    For starters, if you are overly upset about this… then please do your part to stop friends from illegally copying or distributing music. This practice is what is damaging to the music industry.

    Secondly, as mentioned in the article, companies pay millions for advertising spots – 30 second segments. This opportunity to play the halftime gig is FREE ADVERTISING with a GUARANTEE of successful advertising (as long as the musician does his/her part).

    Lastly, musicians aren’t idiots. We know what gigs are worth doing for free.

    Overall, I know all you people do really care. So, be a part of the biggest killer of the music/artist industry… copyright infringement. Stop friends and family from illegally copying music/movies.

    • FarePlay

      Thanks, yes piracy is still a very serious problem that has been placed on the back burner the past few years with the advent of streaming services, like Spotify, that further threaten the future of the sale of recorded music.

      In some ways, things have deteriorated even more in the past few years for singers and songwriters. Enough so that musicians are finally speaking out. Not a lot of talk about the I Respect Music Campaign, which FarePlay supports 100%. Now is the time for musicians and all artists to join together in defense of their future.

      Here’s your chance to stand up and be counted:

  29. Gary

    It Cost $2-4 Million to advertise for a Minute during the Superbowl + the cost to make the ad. Bruno got 12.5 minutes at ($2-4 Million ) = $25,000,000.00 – $50,000,000 in advertising to the Biggest Audience Anywhere. Did he really get short changed? I think he did pretty well, or his record company did well, somebody in his camp did well!!!!

    • FarePlay

      Gary, you’re missing the whole point. Why should a super money making event not compensate artists? It’s called greed, Gary.

      • Dan

        Is Bruno Mars bummed? HELL NO. I think you are missing the point FarePlay. When these high-profile artists are invited to play the Super Bowl half time show, do you think they are really concerned about a nominal performance fee? Obviously not. That would be called greed. Why would anyone work with an artist demanding a performance fee for the Super Bowl. Sounds ridiculous when they are getting the royal f’ing treatment, no out of pockets, tremendous promotion for ticket and album sales, marketing partnership, fashion deals and wouldn’t you know, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are turning this into a moment to benefit charity…but no, they need their performance fee!

  30. Sanchez

    I play free shows all of the time. Why would this be different? Compensate me for air fare and other expenses, to play in front of that many people, and get a front row seat to the game. Oh yeah I’m in. Check out my band Spanish Tony Sanchez on you tube.

  31. bslo

    so why do you pay for players? i think they will play the superbowl for 0$ too. or just dont pay to anybody and you can keep all the millions for your greedy ass!!

  32. Mark SPLINTER

    Surely “the freaking superbowl” is one of those times when the argument “do it for the exposure” is actually valid. Some companies pay millions for a slot, but the musician gets it for free.
    Not sure what the problem is here. Surprised his label didn’t pay a few mil, actually.

  33. Voice of Reason

    Let’s get to the real heart of the issue. Can Bruno Mars afford to play the Super Bowl for free? Sure. Can the members of his band? Probably. Is it great exposure for him? Absolutely. None of these are the real problem. The real problem is the precedent it sets for the expectation of musicians and artists everywhere. Like it or not, Bruno Mars is a role model for aspiring musicians everywhere. And as such, he is allowing a standard to be set that it’s ok to not compensate musicians because the can work for the “exposure”. This will have and already has had a trickle down effect within the industry. Ask any musician that has been asked to play at a club for free because it will mean great exposure for them.

    • Voice of Reason

      Just for example, place this scenario into any other discipline and see how ridiculous it sounds.
      If I were a CPA and Warren Buffett called wanting me to do his taxes for free because it would mean great exposure for me, should I do it?
      If I were a plastic surgeon and a famous celebrity wanted me to do some work on them fro free promising great exposure, should I?

      • GGG

        I agree with your point 100%, but using celebs as analogies is tough, especially in awards season. Tons of designers give clothes and literally million dollar jewelry to famous people to flaunt for a night.

        The problem is there are PLENTY of instances where exposure is a legitimate thing and it would do nothing but help an artist to take the offer. However, as you said, when someone who can easily afford to pay people starts using “exposure” as a way out of payment, others start to use it to prey on desperate/naive artists and/or essentially blackmail ones who know better.

  34. Willis

    Every performer takes a zero salary. The ancillary revenue and uptick in career is worth it.

  35. a musician

    just curious as to how many are actually musicians on the board, how many are critics that write articles for a living so they think they know the business and how many just feel the need to talk about things they know nothing about. You see musicians are a truly a rare breed and at any level the need to perform out weighs payment every time because from the very beginning everyone thinks they are hiring someone to play music sing some songs but what they are getting is; equipment, hours of rehearsal time, the time heart and soul spent on learning our craft, promotion, telephone and internet bills setting up gigs and rehearsals payments to other musicians during rehearsals, any sort of manager agent or booking fees and lets not forget taxes if we do get paid. and we do have to live so lets also not forget living expenses and the fact that until we are famous the majority of us shove all our gear into a shitty car or van and travel 100 miles for a 50 dollar show. So yeah a real musician would not complain but would jump at the chance to be there at the halftime show. Quit ya bitching asshats either you forgot where ya came from or your were never there in the first place. and before you start to slander, I have been there done that. been lucky enough to play the big stage with big names. Im grateful and now a father and on to the next big adventure in my life. Much love to the world!

  36. Justine

    I don’t think your idea of exposure is right. We could say the same about the football players. We could say that, since they are getting a big exposure by playing at Superbowl, they should not be paid. Bruno Mars worked as hard as the players to put on his show. Playing music is his job, same as it is the football players’ job to be out there. The musicians should be paid for their work, no matter what exposure it gives them.

    • Willis

      It isn’t the same for football players – it’s apples and oranges. Compared to musicians, their careers are generally shorter and they have nothing to sell (cds, concert tickets, merch) that will directly benefit them. I can guarantee that nobody buying a ticket to the game did it for the Bruno Mars performance.

  37. Christian Draheim

    Bruno announced an upcoming tour today. The same day everyone is talking about his performance. Out of all the commercials aired last night, Bruno got the best airtime spot too. Brilliant!!!

  38. Ivan Matias

    These musicians get paid in airtime. It’s a commercial for their brand worth MILLIONS not to mention all the publicity pre & post superbowl. The artists get more out of the performance than the superbowl or networks who could have sold that time for more ad money.

  39. Michael Ball

    If it was a performance abd Flea actually plugged in his bass maybe they would get paid

      • Paul Resnikoff

        Flea admits the band wasn’t actually playing on-stage.

        A Message From Flea

        Dear everybody,

        When we were asked by the NFL and Bruno to play our song Give It Away at the Super Bowl, it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded. I understand the NFL’s stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.

        The Red Hot Chili Peppers stance on any sort of miming has been that we will absolutely not do it. The last time we did it (or tried to) was in the late 80’s, we were thrown off of ‘The Top Of the Pops’ television program in the U.K. during rehearsals because we refused to mime properly, I played bass with my shoe, John played guitar atop Anthony’s shoulders, and we basically had a wrestling match onstage, making a mockery of the idea that it was a real live performance.

        We mimed on one or two weird MTV shows before that and it always was a drag. We take our music playing seriously, it is a sacred thing for us, and anyone who has ever seen us in concert (like the night before the Super Bowl at the Barclays Center), knows that we play from our heart, we improvise spontaneously, take musical risks, and sweat blood at every show. We have been on the road for 31 years doing it.

        So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it, and besides many a long conversation amongst ourselves, I spoke with many musician friends for whom I have the utmost respect, and they all said they would do it if asked, that it was a wild trippy thing to do, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun.

        We recorded a track for the day, just banged one out from our hearts that was very like in spirit to the versions we have been playing live the last few years with our beloved Josh on guitar.

        For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not. Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. It was like making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people.

        I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again.

        We, as a band, aspire to grow as musicians and songwriters, and to continue to play our guts out live onstage for anyone who wants to get their brains blown out.



  40. Steven Ray Merola

    The only person not paid was Bruno Mars himself. The band was paid cash. Mars chose to trade his performance for the exposure to millions of new listeners who may or may not purchase his music. I never perform for free, nor do I hope you do. If however, I was offered the halftime slot at the SuperBowl, (as if that’s ever gonna happen! LOL) I’d take it as long as the backing musicians got paid, fed, and housed.

  41. nfl not the NFL

    Well of course the NFL can’t pay the artists that perform at the Superbowl halftime show – they’re a registered 401c3 Non-Profit. They’re working with a very tight budget…

  42. STUDIO 322

    what about public performance royalties? ascap! BMI… the bands might get paid for this royalties..

  43. Elke

    Over the past few years I have observed some disturbing false facts being put out to the public. The viewing Statistics of the Super Bowl – Halftime shows. Right now Madonna is quotes as being at the Number one position, with Beyonce coming close second. And of this week Bruno Mars is suppose to have overtaken those results. To me it is a shameful show of total lack of facts and disrespect to none other than Michael Jackson. I do not know whether people, basically the Medialoids bother to actually check out the facts, but for those that are being constantly “mislead” here they are:

    This is coming straight out of the Guinness Book of Records 1993

    “Greatest Audience – Guiness Book Of World Records
    The highest-ever viewership was 133.4 million viewers watching the NBC transmission of Super Bowl XXVII on June 31, 1993. Michael was spotlighted during the half-time peformance.”

    I shall contact each and everyone of those “journalist and reporters” that again spreading false informations this week about the “Statistic” in viewership numbers worldwide.

  44. Will Riley

    Uh. What??? Bruno Mars doesnt need exposure. He’s already more popular than most actors alone. He deserves to be paid for his spectacular performance. Hell i didnt even like Bruno Mars until the halftime show. DAMN GOOD PERFORMANCE! #1 or not, I really find it funny most of you guys think that singers/performers are in fact fully loaded they can afford anything. But lugging their stuff around, tour buses, expenses, and everything else.. why is he expected to pay out of pocket? He doesnt need any fame. He has it already. Im no where near wealthy, in fact Im on the opposite end of rich and I think the man should have gotten paid for that. So sad.

  45. links

    What makes this worse…the NFL is non-profit and doesn’t pay taxes yet can pay their entertainment.

  46. Norma

    I disagree. Someone like Bruno Mars doesn’t need to play for nothing for more exposure. All of the shows should be paid.

  47. robert

    Hey didnt have to do the show. They agreed to do it for free…so whats the issue here? Im sure he will be just fine financially regardless whether he got paid for that performance or not. Quit crying you babies. What about maybe those players and performers take a portion of their overly bloated salaries and give some to our soldiers or first responders or maybe even teachers. They deserve it way more than adults playing a kids game or playing and insrument. No sympathy from this guy for Bruno or any performer. Most Americans cant afford to go to the game or a concert anymore because of the over-paid celebrities. Im done.

  48. Anonymous

    One serious problem here is that the NFL League Office operates as a non profit. In other words no taxes on the $9B a year business.

  49. okaydokay

    what is the deal here? they are OFFERING an opportunity for an incredible amount of exposure as an artist to play a 12 minute show. An artist that is lucky enough to be offered an opportunity like that then DECIDES whether or not they would like to accept the opportunity. It is not an extortion because artists of that caliber obviously have other options. They are clearly weighing the benefits of doing the performance against the fact that they aren’t getting paid up front and then choosing to perform. Bruno has undoubtedly garnered thousands of new fans.. this is a ridiculous argument..

  50. Published Musician

    Many of you are forgetting that Bruno Mars is covered by a Music Publishing and Rights agreement and WILL DEFINITELY receive a large publishing check for performance of his music in front of that large an audience. That check is paid for by the broadcasting network and his music publisher. Yes, he may receive $0 to show up and do the gig, but all expenses are paid for and he does receive a large publishing check every three months from public performances and internet and commercial slots of his music being used and broadcasted.

  51. workfoPayintheirslavesystem

    I understand the exposure oppurtunity yet those that u see doing that half time show are already internationally recognise, not those that reallly needs the oppurtunity of exposure, &also, the kind of money the NFL rakes in on that night is wayyyyyy more than enough to pay the entertainment 5times over after paying everone else including themselves, ,, So thats “exposure” thing is a lame excuse for not paying, kuz at the entertainment generates $$$$$$$ as well, kuz there’s many ppl that watches the super bowl just to see the entertainment n not too much the sport. #Pay the damn entertainment for their contributions Iin generating funds for ur greedy @$$$e$!

  52. Anonymous

    That’s a once and a lifetime gig. The energy & experience is like nothing else, I’m sure. As a muso myself, I’d play it every year for free if given the opportunity. I don’t know any muso who’d be that stubborn to pass it up. That sort of platform for exposure is hard to put a price on.

  53. Marshall Johns

    No wonder RHCP didn’t have the $$$ to buy cables for their performance. Makes sense now.

  54. Mike Thomas

    They should be at least getting minimum wage! and tips! I blame Walmart!

  55. Ben Bluvstein

    Well neither him nor the RHCP actually played so what does it matter.

  56. Wilbur Justin Martin

    I figured the artists actually paid for the spot, myself

  57. Anthony Mapp

    Would he rather receive the relevant amount of “pocket change” for his performance before a potential 100,000,000 fans or use that notoriety to make REAL MONEY? Don’t cry for him… And please quit putting the Super Bowl in the same light as being stiffed for playing in a joint around the corner. #Extenuating circumstances make this a poor argument.

  58. MediaMan

    Just saying: Ed Sullivan show performance was key to The Beatles and others. I’m a publicist and the Super Bowl is huge exposure. So no “salary” is ok. But I will say that not all artists are poised to be on that stage. It takes a great performance to pay off. And by the sales of Bruno it defiantly paid off – better than an American Idol win:) Just saying…

  59. Brad Yeakel

    I agree that musicians deserve to be paid… I was one for many years. But, considering that the RHCP didn’t actually plug their instruments in, and I am sure Bruno Mars band was similarly “faking it,” I think $0 was worth it. In fact, now that they made $0 playing 0 music, I have 0 interest in seeing any of these performers ever again.

    Well played NFL… pay them nothing to do nothing on your behalf in front of the world. I’d never take a deal that paid me nothing and required me to pretend to be an artist for everyone to see. The NFL doesn’t get that backlash, the bands do.

  60. Musicman

    I think its sensible to say that he made up in album sales what he didn’t get paid. I bought his album because of that performance. But its not all about the money, I think most musicians would not turn down the opportunity to experience performing in a show so insanely and incredibly well produced regardless of pay. Just imagine what Bruno Mars was experiencing while performing seeing fireworks and hundreds of lights light up to the beat of his music. Who cares about the money, that experience is priceless.

  61. tf

    Up here in Canada, people – and especially musicians – continue to die of exposure……

  62. michael mackinnon

    i think a lot of people on here are missing a very important point, Bruno Mars is one of the rarities in today’s music industry in that he has both talent and integrity, the fact that this discussion is centred on money and nothing else shows the mind set that is present, there is such a thing as the love of performing, Bruno mars net worth is $70 million, for him to say no unless you pay me would make an incredibly likeable artist appear as greedy, who knows maybe Bruno actually has the intelligence to decide what’s best for his career, from what i see he isn’t doing to bad a job up to now, maybe we should all stop being led by the media and instead just enjoy the man’s work.