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Why Usher won't get paid for Super Bowl halftime show

Mia Williams

Published 
| Last updated 

Why Usher won't get paid for Super Bowl halftime show

Featured Image Credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images for iHeartRadio/Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio

Despite being one of the most iconic music performances, no artist has ever been paid for the slot - and the reason is bizarre.

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The Super Bowl is fast approaching, and there’s usually as much hype around the halftime show as the game itself, if not slightly more!

Usher is taking to the NFL stage this year, and if there’s one thing we know about this slot, it’s to expect the unexpected.

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His predecessor, Rihanna, announced that she was pregnant during her legendary show at the game last year, so there’s absolutely no pressure at all to do something crazy…

Usher will take to the 2024 Super Bowl halftime stage. Credit: Instagram/@Usher
Usher will take to the 2024 Super Bowl halftime stage. Credit: Instagram/@Usher

The American singer has collaborated with many artists over his career, and fans are hoping for a cameo from one or two.

But one thing we do know, is that no Super Bowl artist has ever been paid for their performance, despite the figures the NFL must rack up from advertising and tickets that weekend.

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They do, however, cover the costs to run the show, including expenses and production.

Reuters estimated that this sum alone is around $13 million - for a 15 minute show it seems pretty steep.

Despite raking in millions for any other gig, the Super Bowl artists will receive their sort of ‘minimum wage’ - an amount of money they have to be paid as stated by their union contract.

But it is a fractional amount in contrast to what they’re used to.

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So why does the NFL do this?

Usher has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Pitbull and Justin Bieber. Credit: Instagram/@Usher
Usher has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Pitbull and Justin Bieber. Credit: Instagram/@Usher

The answer is simple - it’s because the spot is so coveted, they don’t really need to pay the artists to entice them to perform.

Entertainment attorney Lori Landew, told Forbes: “The halftime show at the Super Bowl remains a highly coveted spot for many artists.

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“Some of those artists do not see their appearance as a political statement, nor do they see the show as a cultural battleground, but rather view their live performance as an opportunity to entertain an enthusiastic crowd and to share their music and their talent with millions of viewers.”

No artists have been paid for their performance, but the NFL did actually consider requesting payment from the artists to play the gig.

Katy Perry was one of the first to be asked, but declined to be the first performer to do so.

Speaking to Forbes, she said: “I don't want an asterisk by my name for playing the Super Bowl for the rest of my life.

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“I want to be able to say I played the Super Bowl based on my talents and my merit, thank you very much.”

Topics: Super Bowl, Celebrity, Music

Mia Williams
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