Coldplay Warmup: Chris Martin and his band won"t be paid for their Super Bowl gig, but it should... <+> prove valuable for the group"s upcoming tour. (Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images).

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The Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show’s list of performers would make the promoters of any major music festival jealous. Coldplay will serve as headliner with a confirmed guest appearance from Beyoncé; Bruno Mars is reportedly slated to join the festivities as well, and Lady Gaga will sing the national anthem before kickoff.

Add up the average nightly gross ticket sales of each artist, and the combined total is well north of $6 million. Yet, just like Madonna, the Black-Eyed Peas and Katy Perry before them, none of the acts gracing the Super Bowl stage in Santa Clara this Sunday will be receiving a performance fee.

“We do not pay the artists,” explained NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter. “We cover expenses and production costs.”

It"s not an insignificant outlay. WhenBeyoncé first performed at the Super Bowl--for free--in 2013, sourcestold ubraintv-jp.comthat the total production cost was about $600,000. More recently, some reports have put that number as high as $10 million (which seems high, given that topstadium concerts gross around$5 million). Either way, the halftime show serves as a a free commercial forheadlining acts, one that airs in front of more than 100 million people.

That"s why the acts don"t get paid, and that"s why they do the show--it"s terrific means of promoting upcoming tours or music, as this year"s acts can attest. In the week after the halftime show two years ago, Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox soared from No. 7 to No. 3 on the Billboard 200 as sales spiked 92% to 81,000; the year before, album sales of Beyoncé’s 4 leapt 59% after her performance.

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The Pepsi-backed halftime show is such a valuable slot that the NFL tried to see if it could get artists to pay for the privilege of playing at the Super Bowl, starting with Katy Perry, Coldplay and Rihanna. Perry eventually agreed to play the show, but didn"t fork over cash to make it happen.

"I don"t want an asterisk by my name for playing the Super Bowl for the rest of my life," Perry told me last yearinan interview for our Celebrity 100 cover story. "I want to be able to say I played the Super Bowl based on my talents and my merit, thank you very much."

Unlike most acts who play the halftime show, Perry didn"t have a new album to hawk, and her tour was already sold out. Still, as one of her managers explained, "it took her from being a star to the stratosphere." The volume of inbound top-notchendorsement offers doubled, and she joined the exclusive club of acts who"ve played the world"s biggest stage.

That must be a draw for Coldplay as well: the performance will put them in the company of legendary British acts likethe Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and The Who. Of course, playing the Super Bowl is also a feat achieved by a certain Irish rock band whose lead singer serves as something of an idolto this year"s headliners.

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"Everything I do is a Bono move, surely that"s clear after 15 years," said Chris Martin , Coldplay"s frontman, last year. "Really it’s a form of inspiration. But I’m not going to start wearing shades."

For more on the business of music, check out myJayZ biography,Empire State of Mind,as well asMichael Jackson, Inc. You can alsofollow me onTwitter,Facebookand bysubscribing to my quarterly newsletter.


Zack O"Malley Greenburg is senior editor of media & entertainment at and author of four books, includingA-List Angels: How a Band of Actors, Artists and Athletes Hacked Silicon Valleyand the Jay-Z biographyEmpire State of Mind. Zack"s work has also appeared in the New York Times,Washington Post, Billboard, Sports Illustrated, Vibe, McSweeney"s and the Library of Congress. In over a decade at, he has investigated topics from Wu-Tang Clan"s secret album in Morocco to the return of tourism in post-conflict Sierra Leone to the earning power of Hip-Hop"s Cash Kings, writing cover stories on subjects ranging from Richard Branson to Ashton Kutcher to Katy Perry. A former child actor, Zack played the title role in the film Lorenzo"s Oil (1992) and arrived at in 2007 after graduating from Yale with an American Studies degree. For more, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, newsletter and via Got a tip on a music, media & entertainment story? Send it over via SecureDrop. Instructions here: