Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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What Does Sponsoring The Super Bowl Halftime Show Mean For Apple Music?

It was officially announced in September that Apple Music would take the reins from the long-time backer Pepsi as the iconic annual Super Bowl Halftime Show sponsor. After helming the position for the last ten years, Pepsi will be making way for Apple Music to champion one of the most significant events in the pop culture, music, and sporting space come the new year.

Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment company, which has signed a multi-year deal with NFL to produce the Halftime show, will continue to take the lead in artist curation and performers for the event. With this latest sponsorship from Apple Music, the latter will also play a part in making the partnership enticing for the fans.

On that note, Rihanna was revealed as the 2023 headliner for the show. She will debut on the stage after her 2016’s highly acclaimed album ‘ANTI’. While Apple Music has signalled its intention to make its presence known in the Super Bowl space, we examine what this means for the brand and how this move will affect the music ecosystem.

There is no denying that the Superbowl halftime show has a massive outreach. Last year, the event garnered 120 million eyeballs for the 15-minute performance. Apple’s move to focus on sponsorships and broadcast rights reinforces its commitment to expanding its entire ecosystem of subscriber base from the Air Pods to Apple TV+ and the Apple One’s bundle. It is critical to note that while Apple Music is the sponsor, the deal makes more sense when we remember the company’s other content services. Replacing Pepsi as a sponsor is an ample opportunity for Apple to attract more customers to its diverse product offerings. Interestingly, an industry veteran highlighted that “they [each Apple product by itself] are not intended to be profitable as standalone entities”.

Apple is also studying moves from its competitor, Amazon. Last year, their investment in Thursday Night Football attracted a record number of Prime subscriptions within three hours. Whether or not this may also be the case for Apple with the halftime show, and more specifically to solidify their position within the commercial space of music streaming, remains to be seen.

Ultimately, it is clear that Apple Music intends to expand its international reach and keep its competitors, including Spotify, Amazon, and YouTube Music, on their toes while getting the opportunity to live stream the show on its streaming services. Whether or not this justifies the estimated $40-$50 million they have likely paid for this sponsorship will be a critical question in most people’s minds. From a music fan and artist advocate’s point of view, the more pertinent question is how Apple Music intends to use its expanded platform and increased viewership to support emerging musicians, service the fans with more user-friendly offerings and help creators achieve excellence themselves.

Words by Sheila Lim

Posted On 1 November, 2022