Ever since Michael Jackson ushered in the blockbuster era of the Super Bowl halftime show when he headlined in 1993, nearly every performer who has graced the stage on sports’ (and TV’s) biggest night has enjoyed sizable boosts in sales and streams. Looking to continue this tradition is Rihanna, who is set to hit the midfield stage early next year when she headlines Super Bowl LVII.
With few exceptions, Super Bowl halftime headliners have seen a sizable commercial uptick over the last 30 years. In 2002, U2 saw sales for three of the band’s key albums (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, The Joshua Tree and Best of 1980-1990) more than double in the week following the performance. In 2004, Janet Jackson — in spite of, or perhaps because of, the singer’s infamous “Nipplegate” controversy — saw a similar jump. Particularly large sales gains were also seen for Paul McCartney in 2005, Prince in 2007, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 2008, Madonna in 2012, Katy Perry and Missy Elliott in 2015, Coldplay and Bruno Mars in 2016 and, in 2017, Lady Gaga, who saw a whopping 1,000% gain in digital album and song sales on Super Bowl Sunday alone.
In 2022, the halftime show — headlined by Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige — averaged 103.4 million viewers across television and streaming in the U.S., according to NBCUniversal, which aired the event. The game itself garnered 112.3 million viewers – its best showing in five years.
Super Bowl halftime performances in the last 30-plus years have spurred some impressive boosts in sales and streams – and on Billboard’s charts. Ahead of Rihanna’s 2023 Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday, Feb. 12, here’s a look back at some of the biggest halftime show winners since 1993. (Sales and streaming data for the U.S. only, according to Luminate.)
2022: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige & Kendrick Lamar
Of the headliners featured in 2022’s historic hip-hop halftime show on Feb. 13, Snoop Dogg posted the biggest gains, notching a 143% increase — from 12.427 million streams the week prior to 30.222 million the week the game aired. Following closely in second was Mary B. Blige, who scored a 132% gain (14.395 million to 33.386 million). However, it must be noted, as both Snoop and Blige released albums on Feb. 11 (BODR and Good Morning Gorgeous, respectively), just two days prior to the show. Elsewhere in the lineup, Dr. Dre’s streams increased 108% (22.658 million to 42.136 million), Eminem rose 39% (70.330 million to 97.438 million) and Kendrick Lamar saw a 35% boost (44.440 million to 60.138 million).
On the Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Feb. 26, 2022), 15 albums tied to 2022 halftime performers (and the songs performed) dotted the tally – including four in the top 20. In the top 10 alone, Eminem’s former No. 1 Curtain Call: The Hits, vaulted 126-8 (31,000 equivalent album units earned in the week ending Feb. 17; up 256%) while Dr. Dre’s Dr. Dre – 2001, zoomed 108-9 (30,000 units; up 220%). It was the first time the albums had been in the top 10 since 2006 and 1999, respectively.
2021: The Weeknd
Nearly a year after the release of his album After Hours, The Weeknd performed in the first halftime show of the pandemic era, throwing down a bevy of hits including “Blinding Lights,” “Starboy,” “The Hills,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” “I Feel It Coming” and the soon-to-be No. 1 “Save Your Tears” (thanks to an Ariana Grande-assisted remix). After the performance, the singer enjoyed a solid 65% surge in on-demand streams — from 82.779 million the week prior to 136.494 million the week the game aired.
Meanwhile, The Weeknd’s then-new compilation album The Highlights debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 (dated Feb. 20, 2021), marking the highest-charting greatest hits album in more than a year. The following week, The Weeknd’s then-most recent studio set, After Hours, returned to the top 10, joining The Highlights – marking the first time the superstar had two albums in the top 10 at the same time.
2020: Jennifer Lopez & Shakira
The global superstars made history at the 2020 halftime show by becoming the first two Latina artists ever to headline the big event. Like that feat, the stars’ attendant streaming gains were impressive, with Lopez scoring a 187% week-over-week gain (rising from 5.760 million to 16.550 million) and Shakira’s streams skyrocketing 267% (9.770 million to 35.808 million).
On the Feb. 15, 2020-dated Billboard 200, two of Shakira’s albums re-entered the list – Oral Fixation Vol. 2 (No. 166) and Laundry Service (No. 200). Meanwhile, Lopez’s best-of compilation, Dance Again… The Hits, re-entered at No. 61.
2019: Maroon 5
Amid their Red Pill Blues world tour, the pop-rock hitmakers made a pit stop at the 2019 Super Bowl and were rewarded with a 31% streaming gain — from 47.965 million to 62.899 million week-over-week.
After the halftime show, the group’s Red Pill Blues album climbed 81-44 on the Billboard 200, while its debut effort Songs About Jane re-entered the tally at No. 96. One of the band’s special guests that year, Travis Scott, saw his former No. 1 Astroworld rise 9-4 on the list, while his Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight ascended 128-108.
2018: Justin Timberlake
Like Snoop and Blige in 2022, Timberlake’s streaming gains after playing the 2018 Super Bowl on Feb. 4 (his second time playing the big event following his infamous 2004 halftime show appearance alongside Janet Jackson) come with a caveat, as his fourth solo studio album Man of the Woods was released two days prior to the show on Feb. 2. As a result, he enjoyed one of the biggest boosts of any artist who has played the show over the last five years, with his solo streams rising from 42.161 million to 101.191 million — a 140% increase.
Meanwhile, Man of the Woods made a splashy debut on the Billboard 200, flying in at No. 1 with 293,000 equivalent album units earned – no doubt bolstered by Timberlake’s exposure on the halftime show. It marked Timberlake’s fourth solo No. 1 album.
2017: Lady Gaga
In the wake of Lady Gaga’s halftime show (Feb. 5), the pop diva double-up in the top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Her then-most recent studio album, the former Billboard 200 No. 1 Joanne, jumped from No. 66 to No. 2 on the list dated Feb. 25, 2017, while her debut set, The Fame, re-entered the tally straight in at No. 6. In terms of equivalent album units earned, the sets collected 74,000 (up 1,054% in the week ending Feb. 9) and 38,000 units (up 986%) respectively.
Meanwhile, the Joanne ballad “Million Reasons,” which was played during the halftime show, re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart at No. 4 (Feb. 25, 2017 chart), marking its first visit to the top 10. Another song performed in the show, “Bad Romance,” re-entered the chart at No. 50 in the same week.
Super Bowl 50 headliners Coldplay loomed large on the Billboard 200 albums chart (dated Feb. 27, 2016) in the wake of its halftime show – as all seven of the act’s studio albums were on the tally (with six of them re-entering). The band’s most recent studio set, A Head Full of Dreams, led the charge, as it rose 16-4 (90,000 units earned in the week ending Feb. 11; up 265%).
In total for the week, Coldplay’s catalog of albums earned 147,000 units (up 222 percent) and sold 95,000 copies (up 355 percent).
The band’s halftime guest stars, Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and Beyoncé, all posted big increases as well. Mars’ Unorthodox Jukebox re-entered at No. 48 while Doo-Wops & Hooligans spiked 174-107. Ronson’s Uptown Special album re-entered at No. 112. Beyoncé placed four titles on the list: 4 (78-55), her self-titled set (96-58), I Am… Sasha Fierce (116-92) and Dangerously In Love (re-entry at No. 146). Plus, Destiny’s Child’s #1’s got a boost too, climbing 166-159.
2015: Katy Perry
Following Katy Perry’s headlining performance at the Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show, her catalog of albums garnered a 38% sales increase in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 8 (jumping from 21,000 to 29,000 sold). Further, her then-most recent studio album, Prism, vaulted back into the top 20 of the Billboard 200 for the first time in eight months, jumping from No. 28 to No. 17 on the Feb. 21, 2015-dated chart. The album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Nov. 9, 2013 chart, had been absent from the top 20 since May of 2014.
Three of Perry’s albums dotted the Billboard 200 in the wake of the halftime show, as Prism (28-17), Teenage Dream (33-22) and One of the Boys (113-77) all got a boost up the list (dated Feb. 21, 2015). Perry’s special halftime guest, Missy Elliott, also profited from the exposure, with Under Construction (re-enter at No. 38), Miss E… So Addictive (re-entry at No. 40) and The Cookbook (re-entry at No. 66) all bounding back onto the chart.
2014: Bruno Mars
Mars’ second album Unorthodox Jukebox climbed 7-3 on the Billboard 200 in the first full week after the show, selling 81,000 copies (up 92% in the week ending February 9). His first album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans just missed re-entering the top 10, as it glided 19-11 with 26,000 (up 58%).
Mars’ combined album sales for the week totaled 107,000 — up 82% compared to the previous week’s sum (59,000).
In total, Mars’ catalog of digital songs sold 389,000 for the week — up 32% compared to the previous week (295,000).
In the week ending Feb. 10, 2013, the overall combined album sales of Beyoncé and her group Destiny’s Child gained by 40% to 28,000. The largest-selling album of either act for the past week was Beyonce’s 4, which moved 6,000 (up 59%).
In the week before the Super Bowl (ending Jan. 27), their combined album sales were just 7,000. A week later (ending Feb. 3), they moved 20,000.
Individually, Beyoncé’s albums sold 15,000 in the week ending Feb. 10 (up 62% from 9,000) while Destiny’s Child’s moved 13,000 (up 21% from 11,000).
In terms of song download sales, Beyonce and Destiny’s Child sold a combined 280,000 downloads (up 68%) for the week ending Feb. 10. Comparatively, in the week ending Jan. 27, they sold 72,000. A week later, they jumped to 167,000.
The best-selling song by either for the week ending Feb. 10 was Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” — which was performed in the halftime set. It sold 33,000 for a gain of 203%. The next four largest-selling Beyoncé/Destiny’s Child songs for the Feb. 10 week were all by Beyoncé: “Halo” (32,000; up 68%), “Single Ladies” (22,000; up 81%), “Love On Top” (18,000; up 94%) and “End of Time” (12,000; up 212%).
Splitting Beyoncé’s and Destiny’s Child’s song catalogs apart, Beyoncé’s songs sold 220,000 for the week ending Feb. 10 (up 80%) while Destiny’s Child moved 60,000 (up 36%).
Label sources said that 50,000 pre-orders were placed for Madonna’s MDNA album in its first three days of availability through the close of business on Feb. 5 (the day of the Super Bowl). That same week, her new single moved 115,000 downloads while her catalog of older albums saw a 410% surge in sales (going from 5,000 to 26,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan).
A week later, after the show had a full week’s worth of impact, “Luvin’” sold a further 165,000 downloads (up 44%), while the rest of her songs moved a combined 166,000 (up from 94,000 the previous week).
2011: The Black Eyed Peas
The quartet’s mega-medley — which included guest turns from Slash and Usher — helped prompt sales gains for a number of the Peas’ songs and albums. Its then-current album, The Beginning, saw a 35% sales gain in the week ending Feb. 6, jumping to 19,000 sold. The next week, it sold a further 31,000 (up 61%). The act’s biggest selling song in either week was “The Time (Dirty Bit)” — which was a then-current release, selling 153,000 the week ending Feb. 13 (up 46%).
“The Time (Dirty Bit)” was one of three Peas songs to shift more than 50,000 in the week after the Super Bowl.
2010: The Who
The Who was the most recent classic rock act to grace the Super Bowl halftime stage, playing a five-song set at the 2010 show. With no new album to promote, the act saw the biggest sales returns for its Greatest Hits album. In the week ending Feb. 7, its sales rose to 8,000 (up 102%) while the following week, they jumped to 14,000 (up 84%).
2009: Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen used the halftime show to promote his brand new studio effort, Working On a Dream, which was released earlier in the week (Jan. 27). The album sold 224,000 through the week ending Feb. 1, easily landing a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart.
The next week, Dream fell to the No. 2 slot with 102,000 — down by only 55%, a less weighty drop than what his last album, Magic, experienced in its second week. Magic premiered with 335,000 and then fell by 60% in its sophomore frame. One figures that Dream’s second-week decline was eased because of consumers reacting to his Super Bowl performance (many of whom probably didn’t know the Boss had a new album out).
2008: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The band’s catalog album Greatest Hits took a 196% sales jump in the week ending Feb. 10, shifting 33,000 copies. Outside of the always-busy Christmas shopping season, that was the biggest sales week for any catalog album since 2004. Additionally, Petty’s Anthology: Through the Years moved 7,000 the week following the Super Bowl (up 240%). It was the album’s best sales week since December 2000.
The Super Bowl’s impact was also felt in Petty’s digital track downloads. Key hits like “Free Fallin’,” “American Girl,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream” all saw a weekly gain of more than 150% in downloads.
The Purple One’s catalog of albums more than doubled in sales in the week after his halftime performance, at 31,000, up from 14,000 the prior week. Similarly, digital downloads of all his available songs almost doubled, with SoundScan posting a total of 102,000 paid track downloads for Prince, compared to 59,000 the week before the championship game.
2006: The Rolling Stones
The veteran rockers took the Super Bowl stage five months after its most recent studio album, A Bigger Bang, was released in September 2005. Interestingly, in the week ending Feb. 5, the album only saw a tiny 9% increase (moving from just 4,000 to 5,000). A week later, it improved slightly, selling 6,000 (up 34%).
Also of note: None of the band’s assorted greatest hits collections saw a significant gain. That includes hits successful Forty Licks compilation released in 2002 and Jump Back: The Best of the Rolling Stones – ’71-’93.
One could argue that the Stones’ Super Bowl gig was an opportunity to sell concert tickets — not albums. The group was in the midst of its record-breaking A Bigger Bang tour, which launched on Aug. 10, 2005. The trek continued through its final date, Aug. 26, 2007, at London’s O2 Arena. At its conclusion, it was the highest-grossing tour of all time, as reported to Billboard Boxscore, having taken in $558 million. (It is now the No. 2 tour of all time, behind U2’s 360 Tour, which grossed $736 million in 2009-2011.)
2005: Paul McCartney
At the time of his performance, Sir Paul’s most recent album was the 2002 live set Back In the U.S. Live 2002. In the week ending Feb. 13, it moved just 2,000 copies — up a mighty 542% in sales. However, as McCartney’s catalog hadn’t been released digitally at that point, his sales impact was muted. It was unlikely that brick-and-mortar retailers had much stock on hand of Back In the U.S. Live 2002, so its sales weren’t going to be that huge.
Two of McCartney’s greatest hits sets more than doubled in the week ending Feb. 13: All the Best sold 2,000 (up 246%) and Wingspan: Hits and History moved 4,000 (up 161%).
Finally, the Beatles’ mega-selling hits album 1 showed 72% growth that week, selling 17,000.
2004: Janet Jackson, Diddy, Nelly, Kid Rock & Justin Timberlake
The last MTV-produced halftime show featured an eight-song performance from an array of then-hot stars — but, of course, the one performer everyone remembers was Janet Jackson. The diva performed three songs — “All For You,” “Rhythm Nation” and “Rock Your Body.” On the latter, she was joined by Justin Timberlake — and the infamous “wardrobe malfunction.”
Despite, or maybe because of, controversy generated by their halftime appearance, sales for three of Jackson’s albums more than doubled in the week after the show, while Timberlake’s Justified increased 160%.
2003: Shania Twain, No Doubt & Sting
Twain’s current album Up led the Super Bowl field, selling 67,000 (up 41%) in the week after the show (ending Feb. 2). No Doubt’s most recent release, 2001’s Rock Steady, moved 12,000 (up 23%) and Sting’s The Very Best of Sting & the Police shifted 4,000 (up 39%).
2002 & Earlier
In 2002, in the week after the Feb. 3 show, performers U2 saw sales for three of the band’s key albums more than double (All That You Can’t Leave Behind, up 142%; Best of 1980-1990, up 154%; The Joshua Tree, up 144%) .
In 2001 (Jan. 28), the all-star combo of Aerosmith, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Nelly and Mary J. Blige provided some sales punch. Aerosmith was in promotion mode, hyping the upcoming March 6 release of its album Just Push Play by performing its lead single “Jaded.” As for the others, in the week ending Feb. 4, *NSYNC’s current release No Strings Attached moved 46,000 (up 23%), Spears’ Oops! . . . I Did It Again shifted 39,000 (up 4%) and Nelly’s Country Grammar sold 76,000 (up 26%). Blige did not have a current release at the time.
2001 arguably marked a shift in how the halftime show was programmed and produced. While Michael Jackson did change the game in 1993 with his solo headlining turn, it wasn’t until 2001 did the Super Bowl truly begin embracing current superstars.
Between 1997 and 2000, the show housed performances from a motley crew of folks ranging from Boyz II Men and Chaka Khan to Queen Latifah and ZZ Top. All four shows were ensemble affairs, with the 1998 show (a tribute to Motown’s 40th anniversary), featuring no less than five acts. Yet, some of those acts (like Marta Reeves and Smokey Robinson) hadn’t had a major pop hit in many years.
In 1996, Diana Ross was the show’s solo performer, treating the audience to a medley of her hits — both solo and with her former group, the Supremes. She closed the show with two new recordings, a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and an original tune, “Take Me Higher.” The two songs were lifted from her then-current Take Me Higher album, which sold 3,000 the week after the show (up 74%).
In 1994, country stars Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and the Judds played, while the next year, Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass and Tony Bennett were among the guests. Neither show caused a huge surge in sales for any of the the acts.
We finally arrive at Jackson’s star turn in 1993. During the Jan. 31 show, he played three songs from his 1991 album Dangerous, as well as the classic 1982 single “Billie Jean.”
Sales of Dangerous shot up dramatically in the week of the show as well in the following weeks. In the week ending Jan. 31, it moved 21,000 (up 83%) for its best sales week outside of the Christmas season since July the previous year. In turn, the album vaulted from No. 88 to No. 41 on the Billboard 200 chart, the set’s highest rank since June of the previous year. The next week, Dangerous climbed to No. 26 with 29,000 (up 40%) and then sold in excess of 50,000 for the next six straight weeks.