The NFL Is Making Musicians Pay to Play the Super Bowl…

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Earlier this year, we found out that artists weren’t getting paid at all to perform the Super Bowl halftime.  Now, the National Football League (NFL) is requiring artists to pay for the privilege.  “The NFL has narrowed down the list of potential performers for the 2015 Super Bowl to three candidates: Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldplay,” the Wall Street Journal just reported.

“While notifying the artists’ camps of their candidacy, league representatives also asked at least some of the acts if they would be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league, or if they would make some other type of financial contribution, in exchange for the halftime gig.”

+Bruno Mars Receives $0 for His Superbowl Halftime Performance…

Super Bowl XLIX is happening February 1st in Arizona.  At present, Coldplay is reported to be a finalist for the event, with others including Katy Perry and Rihanna.  Earlier this year, Bruno Mars played Super Bowl XLVIII with special guests the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“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.

More as it develops.

39 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Good, stick it to those faking chasing fame hungry big ego baby rich kid trust fund label sucking character puppet actor models…

    Ain’t like it’s really music so why it being covered like it is?

    So bert and ernie or the muppets or kermit the frog and their stable owners have to play to satiate themselves and show the world of their importance, no news here…

    • Julia

      Nope. Wrong thoughts. Here is why that is bad for YOU, assuming you are a musician. Having a famous artist pay for the right to play only cements in the minds of all producers, all TV show execs, all filmmakers, all local club owners that ALL musicians are “lucky” to have their music and songs used or played anywhere. The sync fees for TV, film, ads, trailers and digital uses are already lower than ever before (and falling) partly because of the myth that a song placement will equal exposure for a band which will magically turn into record sales (ha!) or more people attending their $2 showcases. Want more erosion for the value of your song? Then applaud this move. The big dookie rolls downhill, my friend.

      • Alex

        Exactly. Thanks Julia for correcting this short-sightedness. Pay to play is a ridiculous practice.

        I’d love for ASCAP/BMI/SESAC to simply “holdout” the performance rights. It’d be a quick way to put the kibosh on this (assuming it wasn’t anti-trust).

      • Paul Lanning

        Damn right. The biggest TV audience–yes. A MUSIC audience? Not hardly. Football = Music? Not.

      • Mr. P Chil

        I agree, the pay-to-play model is used WAY too much on all levels and doing it on such a large scale, and making sure that the story is “newsworthy” makes sure that even more venues charge the talent to perform. Pay to play is like a restaurant telling their cook that he/she needs to pay to come in and work, but they will benefit from getting freelance catering jobs from the exposure they got cooking in their restaurant. That would not fly in that (or any other line of work) so it should not fly in ours!

  2. jw

    All the acts have to do is refuse to pay. If the Super Bowl can’t secure an act that viewers will tune in for, the value of their halftime ads will drop. If someone agrees to it, then the value of the exposure to the artists is revealed, & the NFL made the right business move. This is a negotiation… if these artists can’t make a counteroffer & make a case for their own value, then they don’t deserve any charity.

    It’s not like any of those 3 acts are hurting for money, anyhow.

    • Anonymous

      ain’t no one tuning in for the halftime show, any such marketing otherwise is nothing more then masturbating self importance.

      Music is just filler for the real entertainment these days and since music is everywhere for free, to prop themselves up and blast their importance to those who tune in for the football, well yes that should be a pay to play spot.

      The rest of us mere mortals who must bow and pray to them, thanking them for even letting us exist on the same planet as them, have to pay for one motherfucking like on facebook, so yeah, no love lost there…

      • Anonymous

        like oh boo hoo they can’t make money from music like that, oh no… well neither can a lot of us, and that doesn’t stop us from making it, cause ya know, we love the fucking music and got into it for the music… they opened their corporations for the money and then they constantly fuck people like us all over the place constantly making it impossible to do anything or get anywhere of any real tangible substance because of all their collusion and bully mafia tactics, so yeah, stick it to em the whole way, no sympathy from me cause they never showed me any… Best part is they get to get away with it at the highest most public level, illegally colluding all over the place and some of us can’t even scrape some pennies out while we work our ass off just to survive and to be able to afford to make it…

        They want to parade around as deities and gods shoving their shit down our throats constantly trying to lock everything up strapping us in chairs and pummeling us, then yeah they better pay for it! Better launder some more coke money boys and girls…


        • Anonymous

          haha one stupid manage to agree to this? it’s already done, please… They might make some drama scene out of it being all hollywood to keep people watching and interested but it’s a certainty, unless they decide to change it because i’m calling them out like that…

          Besides they are always tossing money around balling out of control in ferraris and bentleys and mazaratis cause they just so damn amazing like that that the whole world just bows and comes out of their pockets all over the place so it ain’t like affording it’s a problem…

          As far as i can tell they have so much fucking money that they can afford to pay for the spot just to be able to be the one who plays the show, to further prove to us and cement their importance and superiority…

          The reality is they, the NFL and those employees corporations, are in collusion anyways, thats how the show works, surprise, so they are just trying to starve anyone that isn’t with them by setting these precedents. Once again making their corporations the supreme being of importance.

          If you aint a rich kid or trust funder you will be forced to submit, to take a knee and ask for their hand in marriage, giving up more control and more power for less money, all so maybe you can be remembered and known as an artist or whatever and maybe eek out some kind of living. It’s just further gutting, itll be the top and the bottom and the corporations will be the only ones making money from music, well at least that’s what they try and call it. That’s what is happening here, prepare yourselves, if you ain’t with those corporations, you will be seriously starving it out…

          I refuse to be the the top’s balance by being poor and homeless struggling at the bottom, i will never do anything in that stinky shitty industry, ill just stick to the music…


    • TuneHunter

      Big stars are well fed by current Hunger Games. Since we can not sale the music LIVE IS THE KING.
      Half time exposure guaranties great pay outs in following months.
      NFL is managed by logical business folks who understand cash. Music industry in the meantime is operated by nerds who cannot sale music!
      Since music managers cannot deliver it’s time for those three mega stars to have some pride and show the FINGER on behalf of the lost industry!
      The best would be to sign a deal and cancel it on the day of the game – I would be proud to pay them any penalties, music needs bold moves and few folks who can make a statement!

  3. Tyler

    Songwriters paid regardless by PRO, right? If that’s the case, then I agree with jw. This is a negotiation. Nobody doing anything against their will. Managers of those three acts should collude to set an equal price, and let the best band for the job win.

  4. GGG

    This is dumb. It’s not like the NFL will hire some lesser known act. Coldplay tours the world and grosses millions upon millions, and Katy Perry/Rihanna are certainly known at least by name by plenty of people in the US. Arguing they need the exposure is the biggest crock of shit. NFL is just being cheap. Not like they have a cash shortage.

    • Realist

      I like the move. The NFL knows music today sucks, so if you want to get attention for your music (which you obviously can’t do on musical merit) then you can pay to advertise yourself at halftime, just like the breweries and boner pill manufacturers have to do.

      Wanna get paid to play at the Super Bowl? Be as good as the Beatles or Michael Jackson or the Stones.

      Until then, quit whining and go try to write some decent songs, fools.

      • GGG

        First of all, it’s not like they are going to ask for $1k. It’s going to be some huge chunk of money that only substantial successful acts can afford anyway. So what’s the point?

        Secondly, when was the last time the SB paid an act?

      • Anonymous

        Well that first part aside, music today is just as strong as ever, how it is made is the point of contention!

        Queen and the Beatles etc. all wrote their own music and lyrics and often played a large role in the production, today it’s just manufacturing plant corporation burn and turn stuff, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worse, it’s just not any better, which kind of kills the whole team concept if you ask me, never the less.

        The big problem i have with that, is when Robyn is soothing me ear with her sweet nothings of being hungry for love i always have to remind myself that wait, some dude wrote that shit, shit, so it ain’t like i can really play with her or flirt back or anything like that cause then i’m talking to the dude, and i’m straight, so that kind of sucks.


        When artists play arenas are the arenas paying them? Do they pay the arena to rent it for the night?


        So the fans and people tuning in to watch the NFL game are tuning in to watch the NFL pretty much regardless of the halftime show, so the musical act is not the draw, so to pay for that to tap into the huge demographic of people watching is huge for the Owners of the Masters, their Company gets big play, the Sponsors and Brands, and even for Robyn so she can up her celebrity appearance fee and market her products and shows, maybe even snag a few fish along the way.

        It’s just not anything that applies to anything else so i don’t see the problem.

    • Ritch Esra

      That’s the point though. THEY WON’T HIRE SOME LESSER ACT! They literally can’t afford to do that!

  5. Anonymous

    All it takes is one stupid manager to agree to this, and the precedent will be set for the industry. Don’t expect it to stop with the Super Bowl, either… this is a highly dangerous development.

  6. FarePlay

    It seems like we were just having this conversation, yesterday. Oh, how time flies.

  7. Randy Nichols

    Are they looking for these acts to cover a portion of production costs or future earnings? There are many examples of major tv where labels cover cost related to the performance.

  8. Adam

    Ha! Any musician who PAYS to play the Super Bowl is a fool. Now we know who to laugh at when they take the stage. Anyone big enough to play the Super Bowl can draw a huge crowd on their own and doesn’t need the promotion. These idiots at the NFL. Lol.

  9. music fan

    No one is going to weep over Katy Perry, Rihanna, or Cold Play not getting paid. But I worry about the precedent this sets. I fear this will further legitimize and encourage the practice of “pay to play” in situations with lesser known artists who do need the money.

  10. music fan

    No one is going to weep over Katy Perry, Rihanna or Cold Play not getting paid. But I worry about the precedent this sets. I fear this will further legitimize and encourage the pay to play model in situations with lesser known artists who do need the money.

  11. Irving Mindreader

    If those are the three finalists, I’m already bored.

  12. Sheila MacArthur

    I hope they refuse to pay. It’s already hard to believe they’re not at least reimbursed for expenses.
    The Superbowl does not make the musician for anyone, ever. Rather, for many, many people, it is the musician that makes the Superbowl.

  13. Willis

    The NFL isn’t “making musicians pay” if they decline to do it for the simple reasoning that there is an even exchange of services. People watched the Super Bowl halftime, as opposed to turning to another channel, because of Prince, Petty, McCartney, etc. In return, they got airtime for promotional purposes. It is pretty simple, but the NFL wants to get greedy and muck it up.

  14. why?

    What kind of an artist wants to support a system that feeds the athletes with buckets of drugs?

  15. Ritch Esra

    No artist / Band in the league that they’re looking at would ever agree to it, because at the level of talent that the NFL is looking at – those acts don’t need “Exposure”

  16. frank

    Assuming the performer has songwriter credits/publishing rights to the material that’s performed at the Super Bowl, wouldn’t that performer make a boatload of cash on public performance royalties? Isn’t that why the NFL thinks it has leverage to ask for pay-to-play? It’d be great if someone can chime in with an informed opinion on this angle.

  17. Nordon FLecko

    NFL greed knows no bounds… I agree with the sentiment that if artists collectively raise a middle finger, they will win. Arguing that the Superbowl brings “awareness” exposure to Coldplay, Katy Perry, etc… is like arguing that people need to be told to drink water to survive. Between the radio and label monopolies, we get these artists crammed down our throat 24×7 already, thank you.

  18. Auction The Time

    If you’re going to buy the time, you get to do what you want, right? Pretty good moment to launch a new show (on the same network), or create a gigantic GoDaddy infomercial.

    If it’s pay to play, then it’s a highest bidder scenario. eBay that s***, and the richest person you can think of who also fancies him/herself a musician wins.

    Does Kim Jong-Un play anything?

    • Anonymous

      My thoughts exactly. The music BUSINESS is not about music, its about rich kid/people and fame, so fuckin stick it to them all the way, all the way in.

      Charge them hundreds of millions of dollars! Open it up and let the narcissistic small dick big ego people paying everyone else to make their so called music bid for the fame and ego satiating. They desperately need that game, so charge accordingly!

      They want to own the music and control the market and fuck us all over, fuck em, just fuck them all the way, it’s a fame game and you gotta make them pay pay pay as absolutely much as possible.

      Oh boo hoo some labels go down, good fucking riddance! Not like they out their looking for music…

      Ive made my choice, ill go the whole way on zero making MUSIC not sucking my thumb or whining, and they can go fuck off and do whatever it is they do…


  19. Simply M aka SimplyM

    Well I can not believe the NFL is asking for us, Music Artist, to pay them to perform considering the amount of money they make. In my opinion were doing them a favor. Music groups such as the ones mentioned to perform and past performers do not need the exposure. I say to all the musician tell the NFL to fuk off and not do anymore half time shows if this is the stance they are going to take.

  20. Steve

    The musicians should ask for a share of the advertising revenue during halftime. That’s what the halftime show is there for anyway — to keep eyeballs on the TV set, instead of wandering over to the fridge to get another beer.

    NFL is totally overreaching on this.

  21. lf

    First and foremost: Musicians should have NOTHING to do with the NFL, period! They are a corrupt organization that has little regard for the long term welfare of their players.

    Secondly: Football is a violent sport that should be banned. The head injuries and concussions caused by football (especially among children) is epidemic in this country.

    Finally: Musicians need to have a national union and organize a general strike like professionals do in other countries (but of course that will never happen in America).