How Jay-Z’s Roc Nation diversified and modernized the Super Bowl halftime show

Abu Mubarik October 13, 2023
Jay-Z. Photo Credit: Joella Marano, Wikimedia Commons

The Super Bowl Halftime Show is arguably one of the most anticipated events in the world of sports. Over the years, A-list artists have been hired to perform during the halftime. In recent times, these artists have included Rihanna, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Lady Gag, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige.

And the heart of the organization is Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Roc Nation has collaborated with the NFL for five years as their Live Music Entertainment Strategist, and for this year’s Super Bowl, eight-time Grammy Award-winning singer Usher will headline it.

The partnership came into being to nurture and strengthen community through music and is part of the NFL’s Inspire Change program, according to Forbes.

The platform adds that prior to the collaboration, selecting artists for the Super Bowl was problematic. “The process of selection was fractured,” Dan Runcie, founder of Trapital, recently said. “You take four artists and everyone thinks they’re playing the Super Bowl. It’s almost like this interview process. When an artist is finally chosen, now there are three ‘upset’ performers,” he explained.

“That’s not even good math. After three years, nine people are upset and three people play,” he went on. “Ain’t that many superstars in the world. You’re gonna run out of people that want to play. I just think the process could’ve been more definite.”

When Roc Nation came on board, it suggested that the NFL should approach artists one by one. In effect, Roc Nation has helped to transform the process into one that delivers a better experience to artists. Jay-Z and his team have been able to bring the perspective of the artist and a prudent way to manage the selection process from their perspective, Forbes said. According to the magazine, this has allowed the NFL to maintain its existing relationships with the artists.

Besides organizing the Super Bowl Halftime Show, Roc Nation is engaged in other ventures. In 2020, it partnered with Random House to start an imprint called Roc Lit 101. It was reported that Roc Lit 101 will release books that range from memoirs to fiction and promise “books at the dynamic intersection of entertainment and genre-defying literature.”

Roc Nation also recently mulled about launching a casino in New York City’s Times Square. In a letter published by TMZ, the Roc Nation founder detailed his plans for the casino in Times Square, one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

The musician first ventured into business when he launched his clothing line called Rocawear in 1999 and later founded a sports bar chain called the 40/40 Club in 2013. In 2015, he acquired the tech company called Aspiro and launched Tidal, a music streaming service.

Jay-Z also has a stake in French audio tech firm Devialet. The tech firm recently launched wireless earbuds, called Gemini, to rival Apple and Samsung’s dominance in the wireless earphones market.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 13, 2023


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