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The Super Bowl: The Biggest Concert of the Year
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The Super Bowl: The Biggest Concert of the Year

The Super Bowl will undoubtedly be a hot topic of conversation at the office water cooler come Monday, Feb. 8. But on Sunday, all eyes will turn to Coldplay as they take center stage for the 50th Super Bowl halftime show—the biggest stage in sports and music. Plus, Beyoncé will grace the Super Bowl stage again, less than three years after her last halftime show.

While some halftime shows are more memorable than others—and provide more of a lift for some artists—the past five Super Bowl halftime performers have all seen positive effects in overall music consumption. To measure how much of an impact the Super Bowl has for these artists, Nielsen analyzed album sales and track equivalent album (TEA) sales (10 digital track downloads equal one album), as well as streaming equivalent albums (SEA; 1500 streams equal one album), for the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl week and averaged them. This established a baseline to compare to the same metrics from the week of and week after the Super Bowl.

Even though artists aren’t paid for their halftime performances, the positive gains in music consumption is more than enough compensation for today’s major headliners to take the stage each year. For some acts—like Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Madonna—the Super Bowl is a huge win, spurring 211%, 352% and 591% increases, respectively, in their total album sales, digital downloads and streaming the week after the Super Bowl. Madonna saw the greatest lift, which was largely driven by the release of the first single from her album, MDNA, the week of the Super Bowl and the likely buzz around M.I.A closing the show with the middle finger. 

According to Nielsen Music Connect, Coldplay has sold 23.2 million units based on their activity to date (ATD). Their most recent album, A Head Full of Dreams, was released on Dec. 4, 2015, and has sold 437,000 ATD, including sales, TEA and SEA, for the week ending Jan. 21, 2016. While we can’t predict what the effect will be of the band’s halftime show, if it follows previous acts, it could be significant. Only time will tell, however.