Justin Timberlake’s Super Bowl performance was a mixed bag for critics, but the pop star’s halftime show is still likely to pay off.
Timberlake had plenty to promote before he played to 103 million viewers Sunday night. He just released a new album last Friday titled “Man of the Woods,” and his yearlong world tour kicks off in March.
“You could argue that the Super Bowl remains probably one of the last remaining mono-media events, where people are watching it in real time at a mass scale,” said Zach Fuller, a media analyst at MIDiA Research. “And I think for any performer, if you are seeking to reach the widest audience possible, that will still remain attractive.”
Timberlake probably didn’t make a lot of money off the actual Super Bowl concert. Although the NFL covers all of the costs of the show, performers are paid at union scale, and they receive no appearance fee, said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy.
That kind of compensation isn’t really the incentive, though. The value is in the exposure that a singer gets for participating in the country’s most-watched TV event.
According to Nielsen Music, streams and purchases of Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Madonna music soared in the week after the Super Bowl.
Madonna’s total album sales, digital downloads and streams, for example, spiked 591% after her 2012 Super Bowl performance. Nielsen noted that the headliner had just released the first single from her album “MDNA.”
Billboard reported that Madonna’s lead single sold 165,000 downloads a week after that year’s Super Bowl — a 44% increase over its sales leading up to the game.
Comprehensive data in the wake of Timberlake’s show wasn’t immediately available Monday. But the singer already got a bump in listeners in a few ways.
Nielsen Music said Tuesday that sales for all of the songs that Timberlake performed at halftime spiked 534% on Sunday in the U.S. compared to the day before.
His hit single “Can’t Stop The Feeling,” for example, was downloaded nearly 8,000 times — a 482% increase over Saturday.
Website traffic for Timberlake’s upcoming tour on Ticketmaster increased 261% Sunday compared to a week before, according to the company. That spike does not necessarily mean that everyone who viewed the page bought a ticket.
Spotify, the popular streaming service, said Monday that streams of Timberlake songs surged 214% in the United States in the hour after the game. Katy Perry, Missy Elliott and Lady Gaga music spiked by a similar amount on Spotify after their Super Bowl halftime show performances in prior years.
Music streams are just one indicator of Timberlake’s potential post-Super Bowl spike, but they are an increasingly important moneymaker for artists, according to Fuller.
“If this remains one of the last bastions of a shared monoculture, then to be at the center of that is of huge promotional value,” Fuller said of the Super Bowl. “It would be a surprise if that wasn’t reflected within his many commercial opportunities.”