Don’t mess with HAIM.
The sisters behind the hit pop-rock band, Este, Danielle and Alana Haim, spoke candidly to Grazia Daily about the challenges they’ve faced working in a male-dominated industry. In addition to fearing people wouldn’t believe they play their own instruments and write their own songs, the sisters said they’ve faced their fair share of equal pay issues.
Last year, the band learned they had been paid far less than a male artist performing at the same festival, even though they were just below him on the lineup, the girls told Grazia.
“We had been told that our fee was very low because you played at the festival in the hope that you’d get played on the radio,” Danielle said. But they were paid 10 times less, which prompted them to fire their agent over the discrepancy.
“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,” Alana added.
The sisters hit at the crux of the gender pay gap when they said the pay disparity could easily happen again since payments are not disclosed and information about rates is so secretive within the industry.
HAIM’s concerns are valid. When a British law required companies of more than 250 employees to reveal internal data on their gender pay gaps, Universal, Sony and Warner’s UK reported women working at the music labels earned significantly less than their male counterparts (22.7 percent at Sony, 29.8 percent and Universal and 49 percent at Warner, according to Variety). Additionally, top leadership roles were overwhelmingly occupied by men.
The disparity does not exist only at the top of the industry. A study published earlier this year by the USC Annenberg Inclusive Initiative found that the issue is pervasive within many areas of the music industry. Women are not equally represented among the ranks of performers and behind the scenes in music productions.
“Women are rarely credited as the creative force behind popular music,” Stacy L. Smith, author of the study and think tank leader, said at the time the research was released. “The lack of female songwriters and producers means that the epidemic of invisibility we have catalogued for women in key creative roles in film and television extends to music. These agenda-setting songs are like so many other forms of entertainment — reflective of a largely male perspective.”