Why Bruno Mars Didn't Get Paid for his Super Bowl Halftime Performance

Following his halftime performance, Bruno Mars' sales are up and, as always, the record companies win.

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:40AM

Super Bowl Sunday came and went, but people are still talking about pop star Bruno Mars. Why? Because he took center stage during the halftime show, reaching an audience upwards of 100 million, and gained exposure to people entirely outside of his demographic. And yet, according to Time.com, the singer didn't receive a single penny for his performance. 

What gives? 

Images

Source: CNN

This is actually nothing new. No one's ever been paid for the halftime show. Not Michael Jackson. Not Paul McCartney. And though Mars got 12 uninterrupted minutes in front of the largest U.S. audience anyone is ever likely to get (save for a few awkward moments with the Red Hot Chili Peppers — what was that about?), the whole thing smells of the same excuse given to artists over and over again. "Do it for the exposure, kid." Or, "Don't you know art isn't worth money?" You'd think with millions of dollars being spent on ads, the NFL could afford to shell out something to halftime performers. 

Though the whole idea of insisting an artist work for free might not pass the sniff test, this might be one of the few occasions where "exposure" actually translates to moola. In fact, there's no "might" about it. Time and time again, in Super Bowl after Super Bowl, halftime performers have seen a significant uptick in sales in the days following the game. 

Last year, Beyonce brought in 104 million viewers and saw a 40% increase in sales in the week following the Super Bowl. The year before, Madonna performed for an audience of 112.5 million viewers and 10 of her digital hits saw a sales increase of 1,700%, collectively. 

This isn't a recent phenomenon, either. In fact, since halftime shows with major musical acts have been a thing, sales for the artists have increased. Take for instance The Who. The iconic rock band performed in 2010 and their Greatest Hits album saw a 50% increase in sales as a result. 

Going all the way back to 1993 when Michael Jackson dominated the halftime stage, his album Dangerous saw a sales increase of 83%. And in 1996, Diana Ross experienced a 74% sales increase after her performance. We could go on, but you get the idea. A chance at performing during the Super Bowl means big bucks for the record companies behind these artists. 

So, how did Bruno Mars fair? He did well. Really well. Not only did he manage to pull in 115.3 million viewers to make his the most watched Super Bowl halftime show ever, the performance also elevated his album sales 164%. His latest, Unorthodox Jukebox, claimed the top spot on the iTunes Top Albums chart with his debut album bumping up to the No. 3 spot and remix versions of those two albums sitting pretty at positions 8 and 17.

Individual tracks are doing great, too, with his hit "Locked Out of Heaven" claiming the sixth spot on the iTunes Top Songs chart and "Just the Way Your Are" at No. 7. According to Mashable, the singer's ticket sales for his "Moonshine Jungle World Tour" skyrocketed as well. 

Bruno Mars is definitely one of the most contemporary choices the NFL has made, but it definitely seems to have been a smart move. Viewership was up -- despite the fact the game was hardly a nail-biter -- and record sales went through the roof. Mars' label, Atlantic Records, and rivals in the industry are likely already plotting to get their acts on stage for next year's big game.

The next step for you

Want to figure out how to profit on business analysis like this? The key is to learn how to turn business insights into portfolio gold by taking your first steps as an investor. Those who wait on the sidelines are missing out on huge gains and putting their financial futures in jeopardy. In our brand-new special report, "Your Essential Guide to Start Investing Today," The Motley Fool's personal finance experts show you what you need to get started, and even give you access to some stocks to buy first. Click here to get your copy today -- it's absolutely free.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers