Music Meets Football

The Super Bowl is a TV extravaganza that has a special place in American life.  Viewers tune in regardless of the fortunes of their football team, often just to watch the jaw dropping commercials and the extravagant halftime show. This year, an audience of 114 million, three times as much as the number of viewers of the Grammys, saw the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers at the New Orleans’ Superdome.

The music industry was there in force. Jennifer Hudson and 26 students from Sandy Hook Elementary School kicked off the event with an emotional delivery of “America the Beautiful.”  Alicia Keys joined in for a gracious accompaniment during the National Anthem. Above all, many would argue that Beyoncé, with other members of Destiny’s Child, gave one of the most memorable halftime shows since Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl performance in 1993.

The Halftime Show

In the past, halftime shows were not focused on headliner superstars or big productions; instead, ensemble type performances were the norm. Michael Jackson changed this and set a precedent for the future. Since then, Madonna, The Rolling Stones, Prince, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson performed.  This was Beyoncé’s year (at the Superdome, she also announced her new European and American tour,  “Mrs. Carter Show World Tour ”, a reference to her marriage with Sean Carter, i.e. Jay-Z).

Music revenue drastically increases in connection with the Super Bowl, as millions of people are reminded of old songs or exposed to new singles.  Beyoncé was the most-discussed musical performer of the night on Twitter, prompting more than a third of the night’s 750,000 music related tweets.   Her music sales subsequently soared through the roof following the release of her fifth album. Beyoncé experienced a 230% boost in her digital album sales during the week leading up to the big game, and Destiny’s Child’s leaped by a remarkable 600%. The trio released Love Songs a week before the game, a strategic plan that undoubtedly benefitted the album’s sales.

Digital song sales also received a boost: Beyoncé’s most downloaded songs were “Halo” and “Single Ladies” and overall her sales tripled and Destiny’s Child’s quadrupled. Indeed, it appears that compared to an average day, any song performed sold three times as much.

The event equally impacts catalog music. Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” wasn’t even played at the Super Bowl, but became the song of the week, while Kelly Rowland, who in the past sang a few songs with the group, was bumped up to #27 on the iTunes R&B Chart for “Kisses Down Low”.

The Commercials

Halftime performers are not the only musicians benefitting from the Super Bowl.  The songs that are placed in commercials also see a spike in revenue. Background music can make or break a thirty-second ad, which is why companies pay big money to place the right track.

Shortly after the game, 7digital, a music provider that carries more than 22 million legal, high quality, tracks, followed Super Bowl ads and documented the boosts artists received in digital music downloads.

Apparently artists received a lot of love from football fans this year.

Budweiser’s Clydesdale “Brotherhood” ad plucked at America’s heartstrings. Fleetwood Mac’s single, “Landslide” was the soundtrack for the touching commercial and, as a result, saw a 500% increase in download sales. Building on the increased awareness, the band conveniently lined up a three-month tour beginning in April. “I Wish” by Skee-lo played during Toyota’s “Wish Granted” commercial and consequently saw a 300% increase in download sales. Similarly, The Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil” saw a 600% increase in download sales after being featured in a Mercedes Benz commercial.

Finally, Psy made an appearance on a bucking pistachio, “Gangnam Style”, for the “Get Crackin” commercial.  Sexy long-legged pistachios, and Psy, may not do for the fruit what his original YouTube video, with a billion plus views, did for him.  But growers must be pleased: Korean Pop and its newfound dance helped brand their pistachios as exotic rather than plain. As for Psy, he immediately added another 100,000 views to his hit.

By Megan Graney





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