Superbowl effect: the Rihanna numbers and nuggets for Ghanaian artistes


Last Sunday night, the world witnessed one of the most-anticipated Superbowl Half-time shows in recent years for many reasons. Though the title sponsor change from Pepsi to Apple Music for the first time since 2013 was significant, it was the historic return of Rihanna to live performance that took the centre-stage. Of course, her return couldn’t have been better than hitting the Superbowl Half-time stage – one of the biggest stages in the world of sports and entertainment.

Following her performance, it was widely reported that the multiple Grammy winner is pregnant – another layer that got many people surprised and excited.

But there are some lessons to be picked up about the Super Bowl Half-time show for Ghana’s music space, especially curating value for musicians and event organisers.

For starters, the Superbowl Half-time show is probably the most valuable 12 minutes of media in the world. It is watched by 200 million people worldwide, with brands spending US$7million for 30-second commercials for last Sunday’s game,

Apple Music reportedly paid the NFL US$250million for a five-year title sponsorship deal for the Superbowl Half-time show. But here’s the craziest part: Rihanna won’t be paid a dime for this year’s show. Interestingly, headline performers even use their own money – millions of dollars – on some production costs.

According to multiple media reports, including Forbes magazine, A-list performers including Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, among others do perform at the half-time show for free; but based on numbers and statistics, the show offers performers huge benefits from the exposure to a massive audience. Call it the half-time show effect: When Lady Gaga took the stage in 2017, her album and song sales, for example, increased 1000 percent, Billboard reported; and Jennifer Lopez gained 2.3 million new followers across social media after she and Shakira headlined in 2020.

Breaking the numbers down, Joseph Pompliano, Founder of Huddle Up, a new media platform that breaks down the business and money behind sports, indicated how the half-time show financials work: “NFL signs a US$50million sponsorship deal. Artists get a US$10million to US$15million production budget. This budget covers 2,000 to 3,000 part-time workers, including set design, security, dancers, and marketing”.

But artists don’t get any of the money. “In fact, some artists end up spending millions of dollars of their own money on the performance. For example, The Weekend spent US$7million of personal cash on his show at Super Bowl 55, and Dr. Dre reportedly spent a similar amount last year (2022). So why do they do it? Exposure,” Pompliano added.

The Rihanna numbers

Rihanna will receive a 15-minute commercial for free. That is much more valuable than her performance fee. Remember that it cost US$7million for 30-second commercials to be played at last game. Do the mathematics and see how much value Rihanna is getting – a whopping US$3.1 billion worth of free commercials.

The Barbados superstar gained 1.5 million Instagram followers in less than 24 hours, which has now jumped to 3 million new followers after her performance. Searches for Fenty Beauty shot up 833 percent.

In addition, Rihanna got a multi-million-dollar documentary gig with Apple TV+ and 17 of her songs are in the Top 40 on Spotify after recording a surge of streams by 640 percent. The Variety news outlet reports that ever since Rihanna was announced as the half-time performer last year September, three of her songs – ‘Umbrella’, ‘We Found Love’ and ‘Love on the Brain’ – crossed the billion-stream mark on Spotify. And oh! Let’s not forget the subtle brand placement of Fenty Beauty during her performance.

Nuggets for Ghanaian artistes

The relationship between the NFL and the American music industry makes a perfect template for the Ghana music space in terms of creating a strong mutual partnership that brings high value for event organisers and musicians.

For Ghanaian artistes:

Identify shows with eyeballs: As an artiste, apart from your talent and creativity, your gold is your numbers – music business. It is very important to identify big shows that can enhance your brand, increase attention on your product (music), and create a sustainable top-of-mind awareness in the minds of people. You can pitch your brand to these shows and connect their audience to yours. For instance, when 3Music partnered with Black Sheriff (Blacko) to open the 2022 3Music Awards, we witnessed how Blacko’s ‘Kwaku the Traveller’ song went viral to become a global sensation.

Curating a performance: As an artiste, you have to move from just performing to performance curation. See every opportunity to perform any day as the day of striking gold. It’s time to curate a performance. Plan it and ask yourself: “What will be the wow factor for the performance”. A performance that tells a story in the minds of the audience. And do pay attention to details.

Strategic partnerships: Getting value is not always about making one-off money – which is not always advisable. Think about how to make stratetegic partnership moves that will give sustainable income and even cut down your operational cost of marketing your songs and brand. Rihanna is getting over US$3billion worth of airtime at the Superbowl. You can also enter into similar partnership with event organisers, especially media organisations that are heavily into hosting events and concerts which can secure you huge airtime for the promotion of your music. Note that partnerships enable us to work together to create shared goals.

Shout-out to Beehive Accra – A GenZ hang-out joint in Accra that hosted the Accra Watch Party for Superbowl and got featured on live television by Fox TV in America.

>>>the writer is a Brand & Communications Executive with over 14 years of professional experience in Public Relations, media and journalism. He works with Global Media Alliance as the Assistant Head of PR. His write-ups focus on brands, creative art sustainability, music and digital media. Twitter / Facebook/ Instagram: @WhyAlwaysEkow; LinkedIn: Ekow Quandzie; Email: [email protected]

Leave a Reply