Is Taylor Swift Playing the 2023 Super Bowl Halftime Show?

When the NFL announced at midnight ET that Apple Music is the new sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Swift zealots went into overdrive, speculating that Taylor Swift will be the performer: The announcement was made at midnight, Taylor will release her new music at midnight (like 99% of all great artists in the streaming age) and her new album is called “Midnights”.

With no disrespect to the Swifties, there are actually many more tangible reasons why Swift appears to be a likely front-runner for the Super Bowl Halftime Show — which, with an estimated 103 million viewers this year, is the single biggest platform for a music artist. worldwide.

First of all, “Midnights” drops on October 21st – and will almost inevitably be followed by a major tour. Swift was scheduled to do a major global stadium tour in 2020 in support of her 2019 album “Lover.” Of course, due to the pandemic, it was limited to a single preliminary performance in Paris in September 2019, “City of Lover”, which aired on ABC and remains her last live performance. Notably, “Midnights” will be the sixth album Swift will have released in just over three years: It joins “Lover,” her two pandemic-era albums “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 Scooter Braun’s controversial buyout of the Big Machine Records catalog. Needless to say, she has a lot of material to air.

All of this ties into the fact that the Super Bowl is more often than not used as a teaser for a major tour.

Yet a less obvious reason lies in the Apple Music announcement — or rather, the fact that Pepsi announced it would not renew its ten-year sponsorship of the Halftime show this year. The sponsorship began in 2013 – the same year Swift launched a long partnership with Pepsi’s decades-long arch-rival Coca-Cola. While sources reported that Swift’s deal with Coke prohibited her from playing a Pepsi-sponsored Halftime show, whether it did or not, it would have been awkward. (Of course, there was Swift’s 2015 criticism of the then-new streaming service for not paying royalties on music played in previews, but it quickly changed its policy and was even the exclusive streaming platform for her music until 2017.)

Finally, there’s a more complex matter: After years of criticism over its handling of race-related issues, culminating in Colin Kaepernick’s effective banishment from pro football, they made a strong effort to change the narrative by entering into a long-term partnership in 2019 with Jay- Z’s Roc Nation organization on entertainment — including the halftime show. The past three years have featured almost exclusively colorful entertainers: Jennifer Lopez and Shakira (2020), the Weeknd (2021) and this year’s classic multi-artist hip-hop extravaganza, helmed by Dr. Dre and featuring Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige and 50 Cent, with Anderson .Paak on drums. Although Swift is obviously a white woman, the past three years have gone a long way toward addressing the issue, and it seems she’d bring in artists of color to join her (although we’re not holding our breath waiting for Kendrick Lamar to repeat his appearance on Swift’s “Bad Blood” remix).

And finally, three sources close to the situation tell us Variety that it happens.

Reps for Swift, Roc Nation and the NFL did not immediately respond Variety‘s requests for comments.

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