How Artists Get Paid When Olympians Ice Skate to Their Music

It works similarly to the radio system.

Robert Deutsch
USA Today Sports

Image via USA Today Sports

Robert Deutsch

The Migos got some invaluable free publicity earlier this week when 17-year-old snowboarder Chloe Kim, one of the emerging stars of this year's Winter Olympics, mentioned that she was listening to "MotorSport" during her triumphant gold-medal ride. The Atlanta trio is not, however, the only music act to gain valuable exposure at the Pyeongchang Games.

A number of artists have had their music broadcast to millions through figure skating. This is the first time Olympic skaters have been permitted to perform to music that has lyrics, a rule change implemented to attract younger viewers.

As a result, household names have narrated a bunch of the routines. Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and Justin Bieber have been among the stars whose music was selected.

It's nice exposure, for sure, but these artists also get a small financial kickback. As the New York Times reports, the system works similarly to the radio system.

Because the Olympics are a "live event," there is no permission needed to license the music. The venues and networks pay "blanket fees" to play the music, then pay royalties based on how often each song is played.

In layman's terms, Beyoncé will make some money from the Games, "but most likely far less than she would if one of her songs was in a movie or a sitcom."

Two of her songs—"Run The World (Girls)" and "Halo"—were featured in a memorable performance from French figure skater Maé-Bérénice Méité. The 23-year-old didn't win a medal, but her routine and outfit made her a star at the Games.

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