Haim fire their agent after being paid 10 times less than a male festival act
If you're someone to shrug your shoulders and say "that's just the way it is" when someone confronts you with something they don't agree with, then I do not recommend you befriend any of the Haim sisters. The three-piece band from LA recently revealed that they had to sack their agent after settling on a festival pay-check that was one tenth of the amount a male act received at the same event.
I mean, if you're working for three sisters who – like most of us – want to see the 21st century turn into a place where everyone can have an equal playing ground no matter their gender, the least you can do is try to negotiate equal pay. Like, sure, Haim might not be as famous as certain headline acts, but they're still a pretty big damn deal. And to be paid a puny amount 10 times less than a fellow festival act? That ain't okay at all.
But thankfully the The Wire singers didn't put up with it and fired the agent in heartbeat after hearing the news. In an interview with Grazia magazine, Este, Danielle and Alana Haim said they "didn't think twice" about their pay at first, thinking the exposure from the undisclosed festival would have made up for it.
"We had been told that our fee was very low because you played at the festival in the hope you’d get played on the radio," Danielle Haim said.
"We didn’t think twice about it, but we later found out that someone was getting paid 10 times more than us. And because of that we fired our agent."
They spoke about how "f*cked up" it was that the critically-acclaimed band had to defend themselves in the industry like that.
"It’s scary out there and it’s fucked up," Alana said. "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."
She said that all three of them made the decision together: "That’s why I love my sisters so much. I trust them with my f*cking life. We’re all in this together."
While equal pay is something that is becoming more widely discussed, it takes the work of certain individuals – like the band's agent – to actually make things change. The agent's negligence to do so cost them their job, a move from Haim that sets a good example.
They've been outspoken about the gender inequality in the industry before, which has long been dominated by men.
"We'll go to alternative radio stations in the States and there won't even be a girls' restroom," Este stated at the Brits. "That's a clear indication that something needs to change."
"We do see women working in the studios but we want to see more. It's a quantity issue," Danielle explained, expressing her hope to see more women in technical roles in the future. "There's so many amazing women that work in music and I think it's time more girls looked into being engineers and studio technicians."
Last year, Sony and Warner music in the UK reported that women were paid an average of 33.8 per cent less than men.
Good on Haim for setting an example, and let's hope they find a better agent in the meantime.