NFL To Ask Artists To Pay For Privilege of Playing Super Bowl Halftime Show!


As if we needed any further proof that the NFL was all about the Benjamins, and that these are end-times for the music business, the mighty sports league has let it be known that they're considering asking this year's musical halftime act to pay for the privilege of performing at the Super Bowl before a worldwide audience.

Of course, the whole reason for having a big-name halftime act in the first place is to entice more females in key advertising demographics to tune in so that they can charge advertisers a few more million for each 30-second spot during the game. Never mind that most women have zero interest in watching any football game that does not involve their son, the NFL has already set an alarming precedent for catering to female viewers, at the detriment of actual sports fans.  See, female viewers are more valuable to advertisers than male sports fans, or did you think there was another reason the entire league goes pink for a couple weeks every season?

Here's how the pay-to-play conversation probably went:

Someone from the NFL - probably an unpaid intern - contacts the managers for Rihanna, Katy Perry and Coldplay and informs them that they're thiiiiiiis close to being chosen as the halftime entertainment for the Super Bowl, but if they were to, you know, sweeten the pot a little, the gig is theirs for the taking.

The NFL, in its infinite wisdom, feels that since nobody else pays for music these days, why should it? The ignorance that has turned such a counter-intuitive ideology into a sad reality has festered and found a home in the hearts of the NFL, who no longer think it should just hand the keys to the kingdom to a Rihanna or Coldplay without a little fleecing before they go on.

"We didn't pay to play, we paid to DANCE!"
Of course, pay-to-play is not a new concept. Club owners on L.A.'s famed Sunset Strip employed the tactic to minimize the risk of booking unproven bands. If a young Guns n Roses or Bang Tango could come up with the requisite cash to play their room, who cares how many people actually showed up? While there were many bands naive and/or desperate enough to sell the bass player's Camaro to secure a Wednesday night gig at the Whisky or Troubadour, widespread derision soon led club owners to re-think their approach and "pay-to-play" was eventually abandoned.

Granted, that was back when folks still cared enough about music to pay for it.

But who would expect the NFL to respect the artistry of the musicians they hire to play their halftime shows? Athletes are notorious for having the absolute shittiest taste in music known to man.  Want to lose faith in humanity a little?  Take a look at a football player's iPod sometime.

"I don't have much time, THESE DRUMS ARE RENTED!"
Much as I may love ESPN's morning flagship show "Mike And Mike In The Morning", whenever talk turns to music, I literally have to walk away because it's only a matter of time before one of them mentions "Hootie & The Blowfish" or "Jay-Z" in some tin-eared attempt to seem edgy and "with it".  To most players and coaches, the criteria for whether a song is good is whether or not you can bench press to it.

So maybe it isn't such a bad idea for the NFL to ask artists they like to play their halftime shows because, let's face it, if I have to sit through thirty minutes of Rihanna dry-humping a Gatorade cooler (for which the Gatorade folks paid millions), the fact that her label paid millions for the privilege will come as some consolation to the huge majority of guys who JUST WANT TO WATCH THE BLEEPING GAME.

You know darn well they never would have asked Tom Petty to pay.

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