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Super Bowl Halftime Show Performers: What the Album Sales Boost Looks Like

Super Bowl halftime show performers capture tens of millions of viewers. But how many of those translate into consumers?

When Katy Perry takes center stage at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show, she’ll have more eyes on her at once than ever before in an already illustrious career.

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Beyonce‘s halftime show netted 110.8 million viewers in 2013; Madonna‘s captured 114 million the year before that. And just last year, Bruno Mars set a new record when 115.3 million people caught his set with Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But how many of those viewers translate into consumers?

In the graphic above, we’re looking back on the last five years of Super Bowl halftime shows and seeing how sales for that artist’s most recent studio album or hits compilation was affected. So for each release, we’re looking at the pre-Bowl sales week, the Super Bowl sales week (tracking ends on Sunday, so that week only has a single day to experience a post-show boost), and the first full week after the halftime show.

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As you can see above, Bruno Mars experienced the biggest boost for his most recent release after his 2014 Super Bowl set. Per Nielsen Music, Unorthodox Jukebox jumped from 15,000 copies a week before the Bowl to 42,000 during the week of Game Day. It then rocketed to 81,000 for the first full post-Bowl week.

But a massive increase like that is hardly the norm. Surprisingly, Beyonce’s 4 — her most recent studio album when she took the stage in 2013 — experienced a minimal sales boost. As you can see above, it only ended up moving 6,000 copies in the first full post-Bowl week (although we should mention it moved more than 7,000 a week for the next two tracking periods).

Still, why such a small boost for Bey?

Part of the reason is that unlike Bruno, Bey had an extensive catalog of releases when she took the Super Bowl stage, so her sales boost was spread out between four solo albums and the Destiny’s Child catalog. DC’s #1’s and Survivor experienced the biggest boost in the post-Bowl week, but even those didn’t move more than 2,000 copies apiece for the week ending Feb. 10, 2013.

Maybe Beyonce’s boost was smaller simply because everyone tuning in to watch her had already purchased the Bey music they were inclined to buy. Whereas Mars, a comparative newcomer, benefited from exposure to a wider audience thanks to his halftime gig.

Another surprise: Madonna’s sales for her Celebration comp peaked the week of the Super Bowl, not the week after. Celebration experienced a huge jump from 1,000 in the pre-Bowl week to 16,000 week of, yet dipped to 11,000 in the first full post-Bowl week. Perhaps M.I.A.‘s middle finger ruffled too many feathers.

The Black Eyed Peas enjoyed a much bigger boost for The Beginning, which jumped from 16,000 during Super Bowl week to 31,000 the next week. Three of their songs sold more than 50,000 units the week after the Super Bowl.

The Who, who delivered one of the least celebrated Super Bowl sets in recent memory, experienced a respectable increase for their Greatest Hits comp after their 2010 halftime show. Sales for Greatest Hits doubled the week during the Super Bowl, and increased 84 percent for the first week after the game.

So how will Katy Perry’s halftime show affect sales for Prism? We’ll have to wait until next week to see the Super Bowl Sunday boost for Perry’s third album, and then another week after that for the full post-Bowl week sales. But expect Prism (1.6 million sold already) and Teenage Dream (2.9 million) to experience notable boosts.

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