Apple Music and Rihanna at the Super Bowl: A Match Made in Heaven and a Sports Stadium

Ed Farley

It is unusual for one of the biggest days in the US sporting calendar to align with one of the biggest concerts of the US music calendar. Alas, once a year, the Super Bowl does just that. This year, an even sweeter match was announced. Apple Music have taken over the sponsorship for the event and Rihanna is taking on the mantle of Super Bowl performer. With these new announcements, and as Rihanna makes her first live performance in 5 years, could the sponsorship of Apple Music even tease a bigger feat for the star? Does this performance mean we will be getting new music? And how does Apple Music benefit from this? Ed Farley investigates. 

Superstars are hard to find, especially in the era of performing in front of a phone screen via Instagram or TikTok. Rihanna’s CV, however, is more than reflective of the demands of the job. She has in fact achieved enough hits to perform multiple Superbowl shows. Apple Music, one of the biggest music streamers in the industry, has a CV to match also. It’s an obvious choice for the billion-dollar company to represent the Super Bowl. With the show containing the half time performance in its schedule, the music service could do wonders by supporting the show, and the subsequent interest in the music also. 

For Apple Music, it is a great year to debut as the event’s sponsor. Both the artist and the service will benefit from one another. Rihanna will get more streams for her music (not that she needs it) and Apple will get the traction to support the music. With the demand for new Rihanna music at an all-time high and reinvigorated as she becomes the headliner, viewers across America, often reaching up to 90 million, will look to the service to listen to her music. It will undoubtedly skyrocket to the top of Apple-owned iTunes like most singers do after their foray into the sporting world.  

A world stage for a world class performer

Apple music is a unique sponsor in the respect that it will be offering exclusive behind-the-scenes content demonstrating the making of the show. The exclusivity factor they bring and its ties to music will again, fit both Rihanna and the service. People high off the after-show buzz will flock to see the  extra footage that will likely be displayed front and centre on the music services interface. Another  experience to be enjoyed. 

The Super Bowl Half-Time show capitalises off the draw it has with a vast audience, and it’s imperative that artists have a catalogue of easily recognisable hits. Rihanna more than most, having created a catalogue almost exclusively of those. In fact, she has 14 billboard hot 100 number ones, spanning genres and albums, from Umbrella, SOS, to We Found Love and Work. With the mix of talent and business savvy exhibited in this decision, she’s a natural fit for the Superbowl, just as much as the football players themselves.  

Rihanna, whose last Grammy-nominated album dropped in 2016, hasn’t been out of the limelight. The Barbados-born superstar has turned into an actress, a mother and a billionaire following the launch of three record breaking brands that led her to becoming one of the richest musicians in the industry. To step back into the job role that she has held longest, it seems only fitting that it is done at the Super Bowl. A world stage for a world class performer. 

Rihanna isn’t just anyone, and because she’s been on hiatus for so long, one must wonder – why now? Why is she doing this event when she’s been asked a few times before? I theorise it’s because of her return to music. Rihanna has stated before she will only release new material when the time is right, and after the birth of a child and the success of her businesses, when else is a better time? Rihanna knows of the hilarious memes made by her fanbase, “The Navy”, who have been begging for music. She therefore realises what coming back to the scene will mean to them. 

she will once again drop jaws, break records, and widen eyes

With the stakes higher than ever and the millions of eyes looking upon the hit maker, it’s only natural to think that she will once again drop jaws, break records, and widen eyes with a long overdue return to the industry she’s dominated before. After what will certainly be a great performance, it’s the cherry on top to think that closing her performance, she could tease new music afterwards. Music that’ll feature as prominently as the exclusive content will be on the Super Bowl’s new sponsor. 

Will Apple and Rihanna make moves to make this a reality and if so, will we get new music next year? I, along with others, are hoping the answer is yes. All will be revealed in the coming months, which for sure, will be an exciting ride for all involved. Sorry to the football players… Regardless of new music or not, it’s Rihanna’s night, and she’s already the winner. 

Ed Farley

Featured image courtesy of celebrityabc via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article images 1 and 3 courtesy of @badgalriri via Instagram.com. No changes were made to these images.

In-article image 2 courtesy of @applemusic via Instagram.com. No changes were made to this image. 

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