Why The Weeknd Didn’t Get Paid for Super Bowl 2021 Performance

Super Bowl 2021 is on the horizon, and for many fans, the event signals the start of a brand-new season. While there are many elements at play during the Big Game making it a can’t-miss event, the Halftime Show is, for pop culture aficionados, the part that really seals the deal.

This year, Canadian rapper and songwriter The Weeknd will be playing the Halftime Show, and while fans can likely expect to hear some of their favorite songs from the popular hitmaker during the performance, some parts of the show are being kept top secret — right up until The Weeknd steps out on stage. 

The Weeknd attends the premiere of A24's "Uncut Gems" at The Dome at ArcLight Hollywood on December 11, 2019 in Hollywood, California.
The Weeknd | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

What is The Weeknd best known for?

The Weeknd first rose to fame in 2015, with the release of the hit song “Can’t Feel My Face.” Although The Weeknd, who was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye in 1990, had been in the music industry since around the year 2010, it took him years of hard work before he really started to earn recognition among his peers in the business.

Later in 2015, The Weeknd released his second studio album, Beauty Behind the Madness, and it earned him critical recognition.

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By 2016, The Weeknd was one of the entertainment industry’s bestselling acts, with songs like “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” performing solidly on the music charts. He collaborated with many major power players.

Although his personal life has often made headlines in recent years (including his widely-publicized romance with Selena Gomez), The Weeknd prefers to keep his romantic life private. 

What can fans expect from The Weeknd’s Halftime Show?

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In a time that has seen a lot of uncertainty, and the near-shutdown of live music performances, fans everywhere were on edge as they waited for the official announcement for the band that would be headlining the Super Bowl 2021 Halftime Show. When The Weeknd was announced as the featured artist, some fans were less than thrilled, but others took to social media to proclaim that “The Weeknd will single-handedly save the SB halftime show.”

As for the star himself, The Weeknd has admitted that while it is a huge challenge to prepare for the Halftime Show, he’s excited to give fans something to remember. “We’ve been really focusing on dialing in on the fans at home and making performances a cinematic experience, and we want to do that with the Super Bowl,” he recently admitted to Billboard.

As far as what special guests or intimate moments fans can expect, The Weeknd is staying mum — but since it is a long-held tradition for several special guests to appear at the Super Bowl Halftime Show, anything could happen. Super Bowl executive producer Jesse Collins has stated that “we’re gonna use the stadium to present the show in a way that it’s never been presented before,” which promises to be thrilling for fans at home as well as the limited number of fans at the game itself. 

Did The Weeknd get paid for the Super Bowl Halftime Show?

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Putting on a show like Super Bowl Halftime is no inexpensive endeavor — still, when it came to booking The Weeknd, the planning committee didn’t have to worry about shelling out an exorbitant fee. In fact, The Weeknd is not receiving any salary from his performance at the Halftime Show, simply because no performers are ever paid for their work at the show. Traditionally, it is an exchange for publicity, with Forbes reporting that the show is “the single biggest promotional vehicle for a music star on the planet.”