Big Game Engagement Shows Why Live Music Is a Win for Brands

Whether you’re a brand or a consumer, when it comes to concerts and festivals, everyone wins

You may not remember who won the Super Bowl in 2017 or which ads boomed and busted that year. But you probably remember the halftime show—the one where Lady Gaga sang “This Land Is Your Land” atop Houston’s NRG Stadium before leaping off the roof and floating down to midfield, where she electrified the crowd with a medley of her greatest hits.

Lady Gaga used the Super Bowl as a launchpad to announce the dates of her Joanne World Tour, which lasted until the following year’s Super Bowl. Across eight countries and 49 sold-out shows, she played to over 840,000 fans, more than 10 times the number that saw her at NRG Stadium. And brands connected with those Joanne concertgoers all year round during one of the most exciting moments of their lives.

That’s the power of live music. The Big Game’s halftime show represents the pinnacle—some people watch for the football, some for the ads, but most tune in for the music. It’s the part of the Super Bowl that transcends traditional demographics, attracting audiences who might not otherwise care about sports. This is the case even more so among Gen Z, with three in four saying that halftime performers have a big impact on whether they watch the game at all.

Engagement beyond a Sunday in February

Landing a television ad in this year’s game, though, comes with a significant investment, with brands spending roughly $7 million for a 30-second spot.

If you get your ad right, the unparalleled exposure could provide a tremendous boost to your brand. If you don’t—or if your ad runs during a lull in the game when everybody has decided to refresh their drinks or go to the bathroom—that’s a lot of cash out the window. 

While the Super Bowl provides brands with a global platform and audience for one day, the Lady Gaga Joanne World Tour example shows that live music can be a year-round opportunity. And a worthwhile one, with 79% of live music goers agreeing a brand’s support for live music enhances its relevance, and 84% of fans being more inclined to purchase from brands sponsoring concerts and festivals.

What live music partnerships look like

2023 was the biggest year in live music’s history, with record-setting attendance, revenues, and brand activity across concerts and music festivals globally. Last year, Live Nation alone produced over 45,000 concerts and over 250 festivals, featured 5,000-plus artists, and served 121 million fans. In terms of in-person attendance, Live Nation’s concert business does the equivalent of putting on five Super Bowls per day, all year long.

With that scale, limitless partnership opportunities are available. Through live music, brands bring their customers closer to their favorite artists through exclusive access, curated experiences, onsite activations and so much more.

Kicking off festivals with branded pre-parties that bring headliners to play intimate shows for VIP guests or enabling customers to spend rewards points on rare musical experiences, ranging from hard-to-get concert tickets to private meet-and-greets with their favorite artists, allows brands to go beyond just grabbing attention. They can connect people to their greatest passion.

At live music events, everybody wins by walking away with a lasting memory, and no one goes home disappointed that their team lost. In fact, according to surveys, 76% of U.S. fans say a concert was one of the most memorable moments of their lives. And the experience fuels loyalty—93% agree that brands offering live music perks share their values.

While there’s a global discourse about the definition of the term football, music is the universal language. Music is the ultimate connector and welcomes more women, young people and overseas audiences than any one sport. With the help of live music, brands can scale and resonate across countries and cultures. And the international rise of K-pop, J-pop, Latin and other once-regional genres means there are even more opportunities to reach specific consumer segments during their most thrilling moments.

As people worldwide continue to prioritize experiences above all else, the momentum of live music is only growing. In the U.S. alone, 66% of fans attended more than five concerts in 2023; this year, 92% of them plan to attend the same amount—or more.

Now that the final note has been played on Usher’s Super Bowl halftime performance, fans are already planning for their next show. Are you?

Russell Wallach leads Live Nation Entertainment’s global media and sponsorship division, connecting brands to fans through memorable live music events. Russell and his 600-plus person team develop high-impact partnerships across Live Nation’s extensive network, spanning 45 countries, 300-plus venues, 5,000 touring artists, 45,000 annual concerts and 200-plus global festivals.