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Why Rihanna didn't get paid to perform at the Super Bowl

Rihanna followed in the footsteps of Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, and more when she performed at the Super Bowl halftime show, but you might be surprised to know she won't actually take home a paycheck for it.

But before you're tempted to play ref and throw a flag, here's an interesting stat: No one gets paid for performing at the Super Bowl halftime show.

So why do it, you ask? Well, there's several reasons. For one, it's a bucket-list moment for many performers. In fact, Rihanna—a nine-time Grammy winner and billionaire beauty mogul—recently said it “is one of the biggest stages in the world. It is an entertainer's dream to be on a stage like like that.” And the exposure typically results in sales well beyond any one-time performance paycheck.

In case you're wondering, when Shakira and Jennifer Lopez performed in 2020, they saw 267% and 187% streaming gains in the week following their performance, according to Billboard. Three years before that, Lady Gaga saw a 1000% increase in song and album sales after she took the stage. It doesn't matter if a performer sings songs a decade old or belts out something new—getting their music in front of an audience of 100 million and more results in massive sales.

“It's going to be a celebration of my catalogue,” the new mom said during a press conference for her halftime show late last week, which is being produced by Apple Music for the first time. (Pepsi decided to pass the baton after sponsoring the halftime show for the last decade.)

Speaking of firsts, tonight's halftime show is Rihanna's first live performance after nearly six years, and there's no better way to make a splash than at the biggest TV event of the year. She's had much to celebrate over the last few years, starting with a recent Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for her first single since 2017 ("Lift Me Up" from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever). Less than a year ago, she and A$AP Rocky welcomed their first child together, a son, in May. Then there's the success of Fenty Beauty, worth an estimated $2.8 billion. (Rihanna credited her Fenty highlighter with making her look glowing and awake for her Apple Music press conference after several sleepless nights prepping for the halftime show.) Of course, there's also the lingerie brand Savage X Fenty, which has been a huge part of Rihanna’s estimated $1.4 billion fortune.

Apple Music is also—quite smartly—doing everything they can to capitalise on Rihanna's return to the stage. The new Apple Music Sing feature allows fans to take the mic on their favourite Rihanna songs, be it solos, perform duets, sing backup, and more, on all compatible iPhone and iPad models as well as the new Apple TV 4K. And if you're one of the few not watching the Super Bowl on Fox, you can still catch the halftime show on Apple Music; on @AppleMusic’s TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter; or on the NFL Network.

But given how lucrative tonight's show will be for Rihanna, it's still a fortune to put on, with some halftime shows costing more than $10 million. An NFL spokesperson told Forbes that the NFL and Apple Music are expected to pay for it all (which is typically the norm), but wouldn't confirm if the singer is also putting some of her own money into the elaborate production.

Of course, what fans really want to know is if new music is coming post-Super Bowl and Oscars. For now, Rihanna isn't teasing much. “Super Bowl is one thing,” she said. “New music is another.”

This article was originally published on Glamour UK.

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