Latest posts by Senor Weaselo (see all)
- Your 2020 Banner Madness Recap and Unveiling – March 31, 2020
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Or as it’s better known, Pepsi Presents The Superb Owl Halftime Show.
No but seriously, it actually is sponsored by Pepsi. Also Frinkiac wasn’t playing nice with the length of the quote.
Where to begin, where to begin! I guess we can start with the performers. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira. Now, I can’t be mad at them individually. It’s Miami, so of course there needs to be a strong Latin music presence. And I guess you can argue J-Lo counts as proxy Miami since she’s engaged to Miami native Alex Rodriguez? (GAMBLOR has the O/U on A-Rod sightings at 0.5 according to Bovada. I’d take the over, because he also has ties to the Fox baseball broadcast.) And I’m pretty sure the rest of the Internet outside of sports/dick joke blogs get mad if you badmouth Shakira. And I don’t have specific grievances apart from sometimes I can’t figure out what she’s saying, but I don’t know if that’s a diction thing or an accent thing or a me thing. Plus it doesn’t matter in the end because she’s attractive, or her hips don’t lie, or she’s Colombian. That’s about all I know really about Shakira, and I’m pretty sure that’s all the important stuff anyway.
So I have no problem with the specific performers. Hell, I might even be too lazy to change the channel and in the end technically watch the halftime show (obviously this is being written before then). The problem is… I don’t particularly care. Maybe it’s the state of popular music today that we can give all of the Grammys to a girl whose hit song someone compared to a combination of entrapment for statutory, fake house music, and the Wizards of Waverly Place theme (it was a Disney Channel show around the turn of the decade which gave us Selena Gomez), and the combination gets a rap somehow makes today’s teenage girls think they’re edgy. Which is then posted in meme form in the comments of Marilyn Manson songs. I mean power to Billie Eilish (I think I spelled it right) as a human being and for making something that sells, considering low-quality beats have been a thing since Soulja Boy famous used a trial version of FL Studio to make “Crank Dat.” But whenever I accidentally heard a snippet on the radio I was like “meh” and moved onto something else, and will only listen to the whole thing once the inevitable Weird Al polka version drops. If that.
I mean that seems like the kind of thing he would do, right?
So if I have no specific qualm with the performers, what do I have one with? Well, first off the inevitable guest artists, because Miami is the starting place of both DJ Khaled AND Pitbull. Who both pride themselves on being featured on a track that nobody wanted them there for, with an annoying as all fuck catchphrase for each of them. And dollars to donuts, you know, you just know, that at somepoint during this halftime show you’re going to hear “ANOTHA ONE!” or someone exclaiming that they’re Mr. Whirlwhy. Which is arguably a more fitting nickname, because he comes in and out like a whirlwind of aggravation to the listener’s ears and leaves as you ask yourself “Why?”
“But Senor,” I hear you say. “You’re just hating because these two people have made what we assume are six, or seven, or dare we say even eight, figures in a field that you’ll be lucky if you make a total of a million dollars from now until death.” To which I say 1, fuck off, 2, what part of “Hate Week” do you not understand, and 3, the real source of my hatred for the halftime show; even beyond a person whose claim to fame is being a walking advertisement for a swill that their producers call beer that wishes it could be something enough to be served in Hell—you need to taste like “whatever” to be up for it apparently—apart from our personal hatred of that previously alluded to #branding; is, as always, the NFL and their sponsors. And it’s for very simple reasons as a freelance musician.
Do you know what I get paid to do? What people give me money to do? Perform music. Do you know what the artists get paid to do? What people give them money to do? Well, I guess you could argue sell records, but albums don’t make money, tours do. So… perform music. It’s not that difficult to comprehend. Yes, we like doing it, and that’s why we do it. But the whole freelance “paying people in exposure” is bullshit. It pisses us off.
Are there a couple things I’ve done for free? Yes. Namely, with groups that I like playing with because I like the people in them, or people that I’m already friends with, that it’s some cool shit that they’re doing that I might not get a chance to do otherwise (cough cough this), and I don’t have anything else to do that day. But they also understand that the paid gigs come first, because they’re in the same boat as freelancers as I am. You gotta pay the bills, especially the interminable student loans.
And hell, a decent number of those they’ll at least do things like cover transportation, or buy us dinner and/or drinks. But that’s because they’re good people, or else I wouldn’t be friends with them and have agreed to it in the first place.
Now, back to this. You can assume that the Superb Owl makes boatloads upon boatloads of money. And yes, the halftime show is sponsored by Pepsi so in a way it acts as a giant ad, since they have a spot leading up to the show anyway. And Pepsico’s not exactly hurting for money—they’re sponsoring a 15-or-so-minute show on a football field, the stage, pyrotechnics, for fuck’s sake. It apparently adds up to about $10 million or more, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But the headliners don’t get a cent from the NFL. Or Pepsi. Which means they are quite literally doing it for the exposure. And true, the exposure for them is nice, I guess. The CNBC article I’m getting my figures from says that digital sales of the artists do get a surge as a result of a significant portion of the country watching the show. Well hoo-fucking-ray for them.
Here’s the problem: If it’s good for the golden goose, it must theoretically be good for the aluminum gander. If the NFL, a multi-billion dollar organization, can get away with paying its headline musicians zero money (they do pay the band so thank god), then Phil McDouchicuddy thinks he can get away with it for his event, because he doesn’t have NFL money (no one does). And then considers that person ungrateful for not pouncing at the opportunity to bring their gear, or their talents, or a combination of the two to wherever and doing the gig for the 8 people who will be there because hey, exposure! First off, that’s not exposure, dude, that’s just getting me to play your private party, and also possibly false advertising because nobody’s here. Also if you’re playing an event, maybe sometimes someone asks for your card. One person. 5% of the time. If that. Otherwise you’re just another face, part of the scenery, the ambience, the furniture. If there’s any exposure at all it’s to your colleagues who get you on other gigs. That’s how I got into the circuits that I frequent nowadays.
The NFL has money and power. I’d say it should make some sort of good faith example in terms of paying their headliners, but as we all know these days, money and power give you the ability to get away with whatever you want, obviously including stiffing your independent contractors. So instead we have a very special Hate Week epilogue, because PAY PEOPLE FOR THEIR SERVICES DAMMIT.
We now continue with the second half of your football game.