Feb 17, 2023 - Economy

Rihanna shows why it pays to perform at the Super Bowl for free

Data: Luminate; Note: Includes streaming data on all major platforms for songs where Rihanna is the primary artist; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Luminate; Note: Includes streaming data on all major platforms for songs where Rihanna is the primary artist; Chart: Axios Visuals

The above chart surely helps answer the question: Why would an artist perform at the Super Bowl for free?

What's happening: Streams of Rihanna's music more than tripled after her performance Sunday night.

  • But the artist didn't merely get a marketing boost for her music. Over at Fenty Beauty, her makeup brand, you could also buy "game day essentials" — a whole line of Super Bowl-themed products — and much of it is already sold out on the website.
  • Bonus publicity: A Rihanna reference even made it into a Federal Reserve policymaker's speech this week, Axios' Courtenay Brown reports. That doesn't happen every day.

State of play: The game is "one of the biggest, if not THE biggest live television promotional opportunity for an artist as it pertains to increasing listenership," said Luminate CEO Rob Jonas in an email.

  • Streams of Dr. Dre's catalog "more than doubled" after last year's Super Bowl.
  • "And while those increases came down incrementally over the next few weeks, Dr. Dre’s catalog didn’t return to its pre-event streaming levels until three months later in May 2022, meaning the benefits of performing during the Super Bowl lead to a multi-month promotional effect."

The bottom line: The halftime show is, as Rihanna says, Work, work, work, work.

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