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Metallica, Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons' agents angry at 'Pay to play' Superbowl move

Bands unhappy at reports of having to pay to perform at lucrative half-time show

Metallica, Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons' agents angry at 'Pay to play' Superbowl move

Photo: Getty

The agents of Arcade Fire and Metallica have attacked claims that American football’s governing body, the NFL, is to demand artists have to pay before being allowed to perform at next year’s Superbowl.

Reports claimed that the NFL has invited the management of Coldplay, Katy Perry and Rihanna to submit bids if they want to appear at the Superbowl final on February 1, 2015. The NFL has yet to confirm the move, but a spokesperson sent Rolling Stone a statement showing how musicians’ sales increase by around 150-400% if they appear at American sports’ showcase event.

David Viecelli, the agent for Arcade Fire, Mumford and Sons and St Vincent, said: “Obviously it is a marketing boon to play half-time for the Superbowl. But I hope everybody tells them to go get stuffed.”

Dennis Arfa, the agent for Metallica, Rush and Billy Joel, said he was worried that the move would lead to only the richest artists being able to play the Superbowl. “If I was a young band with a billionaire backer, I’d buy my way to the Superbowl,” said Arfa. “Everybody would know me if I played the Superbowl. Is Paul McCartney going to pay to play? I doubt it.”

The NFL doesn’t pay artists who perform during half-time at the Superbowl, though it does pay their production costs. The reports come after this year’s Superbowl, at which Bruno Mars performed at half-time, drew 112 million viewers in the US, a record for the event.

The Who’s sales rose by 392% on iTunes after they played the 2010 Superbowl, while Madonna’s increased by 165% after her performance in 2012. But John Legend’s manager Troy Carter said: “If the NFL wants to charge artists to perform, I’d just counter-program with another TV network and create our own half-time show.”

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