Widely recognized as an influential figure in contemporary R&B and pop music, Usher Raymond IV excited fans with his performance at the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show in Las Vegas on Sunday night. He was joined by guest stars like Alicia Keys, and the setlist featured his greatest hits from his 30-year career.
Even though Usher holds a net worth of $180M, he didn’t get paid for his Super Bowl performance. And there’s a reason behind it. The American performer used a strategy of taking risks for potential big rewards, which he didn’t openly discuss.
Usher’s Low Super Bowl Salary Masks Bold Strategy
Usher didn’t get paid anything for his 15-minute concert during the annual league championship. However, it’s worth noting that the NFL has a history of not paying halftime show artists. The reason is their high production costs.
Per Country Living, “The NFL might not cut performers a paycheck, they do cover expense and production costs that can exceed $13 million.”
NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter to Forbes in 2016, “We do not pay the artists. We cover expenses and production costs. Plus, consider what else they gain by performing on the Super Bowl stage.”
Performers can see a big increase in album sales after the Super Bowl halftime show. Even less popular performances led to a notable rise in sales. Per the same outlet:
“J. Lo and Shakira saw a 1,013% sales increase of the 14 songs they performed during their combined act in 2020. Justin Timberlake rocked our bodies and the charts when his 2018 performance secured his fourth Billboard No.1 album, ‘Man of the Woods.’”
The Dallas native can expect the same type of spike. So, all-in-all Usher’s strategy involves not getting paid for his Super Bowl halftime performance but leveraging the platform for exposure and sales growth for his album Coming Home. Despite the lack of payment, he saw the opportunity as a long-held aspiration come to fruition.
Why Artists Like Usher Find the Super Bowl Halftime Worthwhile?
Usher believes his Super Bowl performance will inspire many other artists. He’s the first independent artist to perform at the Super Bowl—a great achievement he feels he brought into reality. The artist told CBS News:
“You know what hope that gives artists? I’m an independent artist now. Not, you know, I am playing catalog records. But for the most part, the work that I did here in Las Vegas, it led to this. So that means you, too, can believe in yourself.”
Performing at the Super Bowl halftime show is like airing a 13-minute advertisement for the music to over 100 million viewers. Artists benefit from increased streaming and sales afterward, as seen with Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Mary J Blige, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, and Justin Timberlake in recent years.
Rihanna also used the platform to promote her Fenty Beauty brand, which generated significant media impact value. As Forbes claimed, artists can also release new music before the Super Bowl to capitalize on the exposure and boost sales, as Usher did with his album—Coming Home (released on February 9th).