‘Someone was getting paid 10 times more than us’
HAIM have said that they fired their booking agent after finding out that they were being paid significantly less for the same music festival.
As the band explained in a recent interview with Grazia (via NME), they were encouraged to play at an unnamed festival for a low fee under the expectation that their performance would lead to subsequent radio play. “We didn’t think twice about it, but we later found out that someone was getting paid 10 times more than us,” said Danielle Haim. “And because of that we fired our agent.”
“That’s why I love my sisters so much,” added Alana Haim. “I trust them with my fucking life. We’re all in this together… But it’s scary out there and it’s fucked up. It’s fucked up not even to be paid half the same amount. But to be paid a tenth of that amount of money? It was insane.”
Even though the gender pay gap is a big talking point in Hollywood right now, with many women actors talking in interviews about the disparity between their pay and their male co-stars’ pay, the discussion hasn’t spread to the music industry in a significant way. There is still a general opacity around how artists actually earn money in the ‘streaming economy’ – and this lack of transparency can easily lead to this sort of pay inequality.
The UK recently made it mandatory for companies with over 250 employees to disclose their pay gap, revealing that at the major labels Sony, Universal, and Warner, women were paid an average of 33.8% less than men. A recent report from BBC News also found that 80 per cent of festival headline slots are occupied by men.
However, the women most affected by the gender pay gap are often low-paid workers, who don’t have prominent platforms to have their voice heard, and it’s important that any campaign to close the pay gap acknowledges that it must be closed across all industries, not just those that have high-profile stars.
Initiatives like Keychange are aiming to achive a 50/50 gender balance across festival line-ups, but are mostly focused on the optics of who’s visible on the bill rather than the reality of what they’re being paid.
Something to Tell You, HAIM’s second album, was released in 2017. Revisit our profile of the sisters discussing the album, and listen to it below.