Swifties aka Taylor Swift's fans went into overdrive speculating that Taylor Swift will be the performer after the NFL revealed at midnight ET (12:00 p.m., Philippine time) that Apple Music is the new sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
In the streaming era, 99% of all major artists release new music at midnight, and Taylor did the same when she made the announcement. Her new album is titled Midnights, and it was announced at midnight.
"We are proud to welcome Apple Music to the NFL family as our new partner for the iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show," the league said in the announcement. "We couldn't think of a more appropriate partner for the world's most-watched musical performance than Apple Music, a service that entertains, inspires, and motivates millions of people around the world through the intersection of music and technology."
NFL is announcing Apple Music as the new partner for the Super Bowl Halftime Show. “We are proud to welcome Apple Music to the NFL family as our new partner for the iconic Super Bowl Halftime Show," said Nana-Yaw Asamoah, SVP of Partner Strategy for the NFL.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 23, 2022
Without intending to offend the Swifties, according to the reports of Variety, there are actually a lot of more concrete reasons why Swift seems to be a likely front-runner for the Super Bowl Halftime Show. With an estimated 103 million viewers this year, the Super Bowl Halftime Show is the single largest platform in the world for music artists.
First of all, Midnights will be released on Oct. 21 and will almost certainly be followed by a significant tour. Swift was slated to embark on a significant stadium tour in support of her 2019 album Lover in 2020. The City of Lover, which was broadcast on ABC and serves as her final live performance, was obviously constrained to a single preliminary performance in Paris in September of 2019 due to the pandemic, said reports of Variety.
Surprisingly, Midnights will be the sixth album Swift has released in less than three years. It joins Lover, her two albums from the pandemic era, Folklore and Evermore, and her two Taylor's Version re-recordings of Red and Fearless—the rights to which, along with her four other pre-Lover albums, were sold in Scoo She obviously has a lot of material to air.
All of this dovetails into the fact that the Super Bowl is more often than not used as a teaser for a major tour.
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The announcement of Apple Music, or rather the fact that Pepsi announced it would not renew its ten-year sponsorship of the Halftime show this year, provides a less obvious explanation. The sponsorship started in 2013, the same year Swift launched a lengthy alliance with Pepsi's longtime nemesis Coca-Cola. Swift was reportedly barred from performing at a Pepsi-sponsored halftime show by her contract with Coke, but whether this was the case or not, it would have been awkward.
There was of course Swift's 2015 criticism of the then-new streaming service over the fact that it was not paying royalties on music played in trial versions, but it quickly changed the policy and she later expressed gratitude for the move, telling Vanity Fair, "Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about."
Finally, there is a more complicated issue: The National Football League made a significant effort to change the narrative by entering into a long-term partnership with Jay-Roc Z's Nation organization in 2019 on entertainment, which includes the halftime show. This was done in response to years of criticism over its handling of race-related issues, which culminated in Colin Kaepernick's effective expulsion from professional football.
The Weeknd (2021), Jennifer Lopez and Shakira (2020), and this year's multi-artist classic hip-hop extravaganza, directed by Dr. Dre and featuring Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and 50 Cent, with Anderson.Paak on drums, all featured entertainers of color almost exclusively. Although it is clear that Swift is a white woman, the past three years have made significant progress in addressing the issue, and it seems likely that she would invite musicians of color to perform with her.
Swift is set to release her upcoming album Midnights on Oct. 21. The pop star has been sharing the titles of the songs on the album at midnight weekly on TikTok during a series called Midnights Mayhem with Me.
Mary J. Blige performed at the 2022 Super Bowl halftime show along with Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Kendrick Lamar. (ANI)