In a pro move, Usher times his upcoming album drop on Super Bowl Sunday — with Apple Music providing the tailwind. There’s also a possible global tour in the works.
Following the NFL’s announcement on Sunday that R&B icon Usher would be the Super Bowl halftime show performer at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on February 11, the singer and his team have been hard at work. Usher will use the tremendous exposure as a platform to launch his latest studio album and the first since 2016, Coming Home, that same day.
The album release, Usher’s ninth, will be the first on Mega/gamma, helmed by ex-Apple executive Larry Jackson with L.A. Reid reportedly guiding the creative and production direction. It’s understood that Mega/gamma wrestled Usher out of his RCA deal — which still had one album remaining — with unspecified ransoms and goodies.
“We’ve put a lot of thought and creativity into this new album to tell a story that is open to interpretation and that will connect with people in different ways,” Usher relayed. “I know this has been a long time coming for my fans and what I’ll say is that all good things come to those who wait. I hope you enjoy it once you hear it.”
Meanwhile, team Usher is reportedly putting in calls — and even booking holds at arenas in North American and worldwide locations — in preparation for a possible 2024 global tour that could be announced immediately following Usher’s halftime performance.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is leveraging the biggest spotlight in the world, and the pre-game is already starting. Usher is already busy doing the rounds, promoting his upcoming album and halftime performance —starting with a high-profile interview on CBS Mornings on Monday.
The Super Bowl offers an enormous spotlight in a deeply-fragmented media landscape. But curiously, an artist hasn’t leveraged the Super Bowl halftime show’s massive audience to launch a new tour since Lady Gaga used it as a springboard in 2017. The reasons for that gap are likely twofold. One reason stems from Jay-Z and Roc Nation’s halftime partnership that began in 2019, which favors collaborative performances over single-artist focus blowouts. Another major issue is the ultra-crowded post-pandemic landscape that emerged after almost two years of shutdowns that made touring all but impossible.
But according to the NFL, the Super Bowl had over 115 million viewers last year — increased viewership despite more people switching to streaming services instead of cable TV.
Usher has been a figurehead on the Las Vegas Strip over the past two years, with residencies at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace (Usher: The Las Vegas Residency) and Dolby Live at Park MGM (My Way: The Vegas Residency).