Super Bowl Music Placements Generate Record Revenues

Shaq performs at Bud Light House of Whatever, which featured three days of parties, concerts and activities leading up to Super Bowl XLIX. 

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The Halftime viewing audience wasn't the only record broken by Super Bowl XLIV this past Sunday (Feb. 1). Synchs -- songs licensed for commercials that aired during the big game -- reached new highs at the top three music publishers, with Sony/ATV 12, Warner/Chappell reporting 14 and Universal Music Publishing Group tallying 20. Sony and Warner's totals were from the main telecast, while UMPG's included pre-game spots.

As ad rates have soared, to $4.5 million for the cost of a 30-second spot during the NBC's broadcast of the big game, licensing royalties for songwriters and artists have gotten healthier, too. Brian Monaco, evp-worldwide head of advertising, film and television at Sony/ATV, says that although the company booked less synchs than the 2014 telecast (12 vs. 14), the overall revenue was up thanks to big gets like a re-recording of The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" for Ecuador Tourism, a regional commercial for American Family Insurance featuring Jennifer Hudson covering The Five Stairsteps' "O-o-h Child," and a newly recorded version of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" by Sony/ATV writer Marc Cibilia for Jeep.

"Consumers are consuming more music in commercials than ever, [so] brands need to make big statements," says Monaco, noting that licensing windows have been abbreviated from a year with renewals to six to nine months to keep up with demand. "But there are still songs that can command a major premium when you put them on a Super Bowl platform."

Ron Broitman, exec VP, head of synchronization at Warner/Chappell Music & Rhino Entertainment, added that Warner Music had seven synchs on the recorded masters side, including Harry Chapin's "Cat's In The Cradle" for Nissan. "We continue to see the impact of powerful songs on advertising, which makes for a vibrant and competitive marketplace," he said. "Warner Music Group saw one of its best Super Bowls from a licensing standpoint this year, which is a testament to strong relationships, great creative execution, and the privilege of working with amazing music."

Expect the synch wave to stay afloat heading into the Feb. 8 Grammy Awards, where spots soared past $1 million for the first time last year and advertisers like Pepsi, MasterCard, Hyundai, CoverGirl, Degree Women, Microsoft and JBL will all likely debut new creative.