The real reason the Weeknd wasn’t paid for his impressive performance

While snacking on your favorite dips and enjoying the hilarious commercials during Super Bowl Sunday, you may start wondering about the logistics behind the championship game’s famous halftime show. One popular question folks seem to have revolves around costs, particularly how much the headliner — this year, it’s the Weeknd — will make for his performance.

Super Bowl 2021 halftime show: Time and performers | Tom's Guide

Naturally, you might assume that the NFL would pay the Weeknd and all other halftime artists for agreeing to the gig, especially given the number of eyeballs watching the show (last year’s halftime show had roughly 103 million viewers). But as it turns out, this assumption is far from reality.

The Weeknd claims he'll perform the Super Bowl halftime show entirely solo  | The Week

In a recent interview with Billboard, the Canadian singer-songwriter, formally known as Abel Tesfaye, shared that he was adamant about making his 15-minute set a true “cinematic experience.” To achieve that, the Weeknd’s manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby revealed that the artist is contributed $7 million of his own money to “make this halftime show be what he envisioned.” This amount is on top of what the sports organization will front to cover the usual travel and production fees of the Pepsi-sponsored event, which is reported to cost as much as $10 million.

So, if the Weeknd is helped fund the Super Bowl halftime show, how much is he getting paid himself, you ask? Well, nothing actually.

Wait, why don’t Super Bowl halftime performers get paid by the NFL?

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most coveted gigs on live TV with millions tuning in each year. Despite this, the organization has not paid its star performers — ShakiraJennifer LopezThe Black Eyed PeasBeyoncéBruno MarsLady GagaJustin Timberlake, and others — in years. According to Forbes, the NFL offered last year’s headliners, Shakira and J.Lo, “union scale,” which is “a fraction of the six- and seven-figure sums” the artists usually earn regularly.

That said, there are some huge benefits for participating artists beyond a big paycheck from the NFL. Because so many people are guaranteed to watch the event, artists are given unmatched exposure and an opportune time to promote their latest albums, tours, and projects.

Plus, historically speaking, the 15-minute show has resulted in some pretty hefty financial gains for the singers. According to Spotify, after last year’s Super Bowl halftime show, Shakira’s streams spiked by 230% while JLo’s went up 335%. Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake’s music sales rose 534% after his appearance in

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