When the NFL revealed that Apple Music is the new sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show in which betting on Super Bowl Odds is one of the most beloved activities in the U.S the Swift-diverse went into overdrive, speculating that Taylor Swift would be the performer: Taylor releases her new album at midnight (er, like 99% of all famous artists in the streaming era), and her new album is titled “Midnights.” The announcement was made at midnight, and the album was named after that time as well.
There are many more concrete reasons why Taylor Swift seems to be a likely front-runner for the Super Bowl Halftime Show, which, with an estimated 103 million viewers this time, is the single biggest platform for a music artist in the world.
First things first, “Midnights” is scheduled for release on October 21 and will very certainly be followed by a significant tour. In promotion of her album “Lover,” which was released in 2019, Swift was planning to perform at large stadiums all over the world in the year 2020. Obviously, because of the pandemic, it was confined to a single preliminary performance in Paris in September of 2019, “City of Lover,” which broadcasted on ABC and remained her final live performance. Brilliantly, “Midnights” will be the sixth album Swift has released in little more than three years.
It joins ranks with “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 were sold in Scooter Braun’s controversial acquisition of the Big Machine Records catalog, along with her four other albums released prior to “Lover.” It goes without saying that she has a lot of content ready to be presented. All of this dovetails into the reality that the Super Bowl is more often than not utilized as a preview for a large tour.
On the other hand, a less apparent explanation lies in the statement that Apple Music made, or more specifically, the fact that Pepsi declared that it would not extend its ten-year-long sponsorship of the Halftime show this year. Apple Music is a streaming music service owned and operated by Apple. The sponsorship started in 2013 – the same year that Swift initiated a lengthy association with Pepsi’s decades-old arch-rival Coca-Cola. There were rumors circulating that Taylor Swift’s contract with Coca-Cola prevented her from performing at a Pepsi-sponsored halftime show.
Regardless of whether or not this was true, it would have been an uncomfortable situation anyway. ( Of course, there was Swift’s criticism of Apple’s then-new streaming service about the fact that it wasn’t paying royalty fees on music played by trial users, but it quickly changed the policy, and she later expressed gratitude for the platform, telling Vanity Fair that Apple treated her like she was a voice of a community that they truly cared about.”
Lastly, there’s a more difficult matter: Following years of criticism for the way it handled racial issues, which culminated in Colin Kaepernick’s effective banishment from professional football, the National Football League made a strong effort in 2019 to change the narrative by striking a long-term partnership with Jay-Z’s Nation organization on entertainment, including the halftime show. This move was in response to the criticism that the NFL received for its handling of racial issues. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, the Weeknd, and 2022’s multi-artist hip-hop adventure, spearheaded by Dr. Dre, featuring Kendrick Lamar, Snoop, Eminem, and 50 Cent, are just some of the entertainers of color who have been featured in the past three years almost exclusively.
Swift is obviously a white woman; however, the last three years have undergone a long way toward addressing the racism problem, and it seems very likely that she would feature with performers of color to join her. And lastly, three people familiar with the matter told Variety that it is occurring, despite the fact that other people familiar with the situation believe that it is not happening.