Backlash For Super Bowl Pay-To-Play

The Super Bowl’s alleged plan to have halftime performers sing for their supper has gotten backlash from the AFM and the AFL-CIO’s Department of Professional Employees.

Photo: AP Photo
Performing with LMFAO at the Super Bowl halftime show in Indianapolis.

Sources say Super Bowl officials have floated the idea of having future performers give something back to the NFL for the exposure, like a percentage of ticket sales from the subsequent tour or music sales. Acts under consideration are allegedly RihannaKaty Perry and Coldplay, but the unions want a conscious uncoupling of the pay-to-play scenario.

“No one should ever pay to work. NO organization should ever get a kickback from a worker they employ,” the AFL-CIO said. “The Department of Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, its affiliates in the entertainment industry, and the other unions, 22 in all, will stand with the AFM in condemning and will fight back against any attempts to make workers pay to perform.”

The American Federation of Musicians blasted the idea in mid-August. “It’s not like the NFL and its Super Bowl organizers don’t have any money and can’t afford to pay for halftime show performances,” the AFM said. “It’s about the insatiable thirst for profits at the expenses of great musical entertainment and those who create it.”

All of this should be good news to struggling bands that have contended with pay-to-play schemes at clubs for decades. Or not. The NFL has yet to confirm this recent concept, although sources told the Wall Street Journal that it had contacted artist representatives with the offer, which had a chilly reception. No matter the NFL’s position, the players union has also sided with the musicians.

“The NFL Players Association will always support works and fair wages,” a spokesman told Deadline Hollywood.