The weekend did not have a bad 2020. His hit song “Blinding Lights” was at the top of the Billboard charts for four weeks, and his album “After Hours” debuted at number one. In November, it was announced that he would be the main act at the Super Bowl halftime show, one of the few live shows since the pandemic started. The one bad thing? He won’t be paid to do the show.
He will get at least $1 million for a Pepsi commercial that airs before the game, but The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, says he is spending $7 million of his own money to put on the high-stakes show. Even though his team won’t say whether that money is going toward fireworks, a hologram, or a microphone with diamonds on it, they think the payoff will be huge.
Wassim “SAL” Slaiby, who is in charge of The Weeknd, says that the Super Bowl is a huge chance.
So far as we can tell, he’s the first person to say that he paid for the show with his own money. However, he’s not the first person to perform for almost no pay. Stars like Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé have usually performed for free on sports’ biggest stage in exchange for the exposure they get from being seen by more than 100 million people watching on TV.
This chance pays off with peaks on both streaming and social media. Nielsen Music says that when Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performed at Super Bowl 2020, sales of the songs they played went up by 16 times. The night of and the day after last year’s show, Lopez and Shakira’s on-demand music streams went up by 149% and 221%, respectively. Analytics firm ListenFirst says that Lopez got 2,353,050 new followers on social media in the week after the Super Bowl, while Shakira got 610,823 new followers.
Most of the time, the NFL and Pepsi pay the multimillion-dollar costs of making the commercials. Reuters says that the show last year cost $13 million, but neither the NFL nor Pepsi responded to a request for comment. The Weeknd’s manager said that Pepsi and the NFL had again given money, but no one would say how much had been spent. The Weeknd could charge as much as $20 million for his show.
The Weeknd plans to go on his After Hours tour next year. The traffic on StubHub for halftime acts after the Super Bowl has gone up by at least 50% in the past, the ticketing site says. Those ticket sales mean real money. Lopez and Shakira weren’t able to make money because the pandemic canceled their concerts, but Maroon 5’s average per-city gross went up by $200,000 to $1.7 million after they played at the 2019 halftime show. Travis Scott also performed that year. Since then, he has more than doubled what he makes per show, which is now over $1 million.
The Weeknd’s touring business is already very successful. In the last five years, he has made more than $205 million before taxes, including $92 million in 2017 during his Starboy tour.
The Weeknd told Forbes in 2017 that artists don’t make as much money from music as they did during the “Golden Age.” “It doesn’t really make sense until you get on stage.
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