Charted: The sheer wonders the Super Bowl does for musicians’ profits

Beyonce at the Super Bowl half-time show in 2013.
Beyonce at the Super Bowl half-time show in 2013.
Image: Reuters/Sean Gardner
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When millions of giddy Americans tune into the US Super Bowl this weekend, they won’t be doing it for football alone. The event is essentially a multi-billion-dollar spectacle masquerading as a sports game; it’s packed with entertainment programming galore, from a series of meticulously designed advertisements to the famous, high-profile half-time concert.

How high-profile? Well, musicians who perform at the Super Bowl half-time show aren’t actually paid for their performance—but the amount of money they rake in from the concert still astounds.

Nielsen, which tracks music consumption via album sales, track sales, streams, and downloads, released figures yesterday (Feb. 1) detailing exactly how much performing at the Super Bowl affects artists’ profits in the week of the event and the week after.

Each artist’s percent change is measured against his or her baseline from the two weeks prior to the Super Bowl. Katy Perry and Bruno Mars pulled in 211% and 352% more music consumption, respectively, thanks to the event.

Of all the six most recent half-time acts, Madonna saw the biggest gain: a 591% increase in her total album sales, digital downloads, and streams. (Nielsen notes that her huge lift was driven by both the timely release of a new single in the week of the performance and “the likely buzz around M.I.A. closing the show with the middle finger.”)

Though things haven’t been 100% confirmed yet, currently slated for the half-time show at this year’s game—a.k.a. Super Bowl 50—are Coldplay, Beyoncé, and possibly Bruno Mars and Rihanna. It seems artists know exactly what they stand to gain by securing a spot on the performance list.