The Weeknd Got Paid for His Halftime Show in… Exposure?!


Even in normal times, the Super Bowl halftime show is always one of the biggest musical events of the year. With millions of eyes glued to the TV, the stars come out and strut their best musical stuff – or just accidentally spawn hilarious memes like Left Shark instead.

But in 2021, where we still haven’t had any concerts since March of last year, this was absolutely the biggest event (musical or otherwise) we’d all seen in a while. The Weeknd blew us all away with his theatrics, energy, and feel-good story: he went from homeless to halftime over the course of his career.

So how much does the biggest concert in the world pay its headlining act? Not much, apparently.

Per Forbes, the Pepsi Halftime Show artists of years past have been paid on the “union scale… a fraction of the six- and seven-figure sums” typically made at festivals or on world tours. Turns out the NFL is pretty cheap with their talent budget.

Combined with the fact that The Weeknd poured $7 million of his own money into the show, it’s likely that he made a huge loss before even stepping into of the stadium on Sunday.

But just like all the aspiring artists and freelancers of the world, don’t worry – the “Starboy” singer is being paid in exposure.

Of course, unlike most promises of great exposure for someone’s art, the Super Bowl can actually deliver. After the game, sales of The Weeknd’s music shot through the roof!

So will he make a return on his investment? Maybe that’s not what’s important here. After all, it looks like he had a fun time performing!


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Photo credit: Christian Bertrand /