This past Sunday was Super Bowl 50, and like many music fans, we tuned in mostly for the halftime show (and the commercials).

As always, the halftime show was quite a spectacle, with Coldplay taking center stage, supported by Beyonce and Bruno Mars as guest performers. With international megastars such as these performing, you would think the artist booking fees alone would push the budget into the millions. But you would be wrong. Coldplay, Beyonce, and Bruno Mars were all paid exactly $0 to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show.

Any aspiring band, DJ, or producer can relate to being asked to play a gig for free, "for the exposure". It's one of the oldest tricks in the shady promoter handbook, and sadly many up and coming artists are taken advantage of with this type of arrangement all the time. But it's hard to imagine this situation playing out in the very top tier of music performance - and yet it does. According to Forbes:

...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.”

And to be fair, this might be one of the few situations where only being compensated with exposure is actually a good deal for the artists. Playing a Super Bowl halftime show always gives artists a huge boost to their album sales, often pushing their current album or singles several spots up in the charts.

In years past, the NFL has actually tried to have artists pay to perform the halftime show - but thankfully artists like Katy Perry and Rihanna refused. Considering that the NFL picks up the (multi-million dollar) tab for the production costs, it seems a fair trade that the artists would play for free, but asking artists to pay to perform just reeks of greed and disrespect.

Image: AP

Follow EDM.com:

About the Author

Chris Cox

Join The Conversation