Four One Direction Hiatus Strategy Theories: What Are Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, And Zayn Malik Really Trying To Accomplish?

The One Direction hiatus is definitely a strategy for success, probably cooked up by none other than Harry Styles with a little help from his band mates, to perpetuate the future of their careers. Looking past the drama of break or break up, there is a method to this madness.

Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan are doing solo work. Malik, who left first, is already making his second album, and Styles has a three-album contract. Liam and Niall also have record contracts, and Horan has already released a solo single.

One Direction fans cry out in horror at the idea that solo work means a breakup, but is solo work really a bad sign? Does it really mean the band is breaking up? No, it doesn't mean that at all. This article presents four theoretical reasons for the hiatus and solo work, each of which could be taken in combination with some of the others.

The One Direction Hiatus Because They Needed A Break Theory

The One Direction hiatus strategy definitely included the basic need for family time, rest, and recreation for the band. That was just a must for Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Liam Payne. Even the tireless Harry Styles may have taken a week off here and there.

Louis Tomlinson had no intention of being on the road while his child was born. Niall Horan was desperate to live his life to the fullest while he was still young, and Liam Payne, well maybe he wanted to find love, which it seems he has done with Cheryl. Rumor has it Payne has a baby on the way as well, according to Unreality TV.

Niall Horan playing golf he needed this break.
Niall Horan of One Direction playing golf during the hiatus. Niall needed this break. [Image by David Cannon/Getty Images]

Zayn Malik had already left One Direction, and it is quite possible that his anxiety was already getting the best of him before he left. He was likely exhausted. Exhaustion would have hit Zayn first because he is more prone to anxiety and stress. That eats up energy.

The One Direction hiatus started with Zayn, who quit for a while, felt better, decided to do some solo work, and was fine until he had to tour again. Zayn Malik is currently unable to tour. He's not doing very well, to be frank. As for stress, Niall Horan has acid reflux disease, that is sometimes caused by long-term stress.

That One Direction needed a break is obviously quite true, but it doesn't account for everything. It's just one reason, and relaxation is just one goal in a larger plan.

One Direction Hiatus Serves The Purposes Of Re-branding

One Direction absolutely must be repackaged if it is to last out the decade. The boy band image and music style will not take their five careers into the next decade. It just won't. The boys had a fantastic run, but eventually most boy bands just fade away. They get forgotten when a younger set of fluffy-haired boys are discovered and a younger set of girls want boys closer to their own age.

One Direction's Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson are all extremely talented, and they are too smart to fade away because they hung on to an image and style they have obviously outgrown.

Harry Styles seems to be in charge of re-branding according to this piece from The Inquisitr. While many seem to think that Styles is only out for himself, and it is probable that he is working in his own best interest as well, if his solo album meets the expectations he has built up, then everything he does will be considered musically viable, including a One Direction reunion.

Harry Styles of One Direction
Harry Styles Of One Direction Is Doing quite a bit of re-branding [Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock]

One Direction's Harry Styles will have the power to take the guys with him if that is what they all want. Once he achieves superstardom, he can perform with anyone he wants, as long as it sounds good. But for it to work, all of them will have to learn more about creating a lasting style of music.

The One Direction Hiatus as a Learning Strategy TheoryIf One Direction, either collectively or separately, are going to pull their careers into the next few decades, they will have to up their game by developing more complex and mature styles of music. There is a whole lot to learn, and what do teachers and professors do when there is a whole lot to learn? They split up the class to write separate reports, and then the class comes back together. Each member shares what they know, so now everyone is aware of all the topics.

One Direction's Harry Styles is learning a whole lot about rock music. Harry is also making valuable contacts in the music world, and even in the film industry.

Zayn Malik has thoroughly explored R&B in creating his second album. He experimented with different styles, and the album sold very well. He is also learning about producing TV shows.

Niall Horan is mastering folk music, and while no one else seems to have noticed a huge shift in his music, there are subtle differences between Our Town and One Direction's usual sound.

One Direction's Liam Payne is also studying R&B and working with several multitalented R&B artists in the studio while making his own solo album.

Louis Tomlinson's project is still a mystery, though it is believed he is exploring management and record companies. No one knows what Tomlinson is up to, but it is hard to imagine his isn't working on music at all.

One Direction's Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson will come back together next year, full of fresh ideas and historic music knowledge. They will have covered five times more ground in terms of experience than if they had worked on the project together, and 100 percent more than if they had stayed on tour getting more and more exhausted. It is possible that Zayn Malik might join them.

One Direction May Have Gone On Hiatus To Wait Out A Non-Compete Clause In A Record Contract

One Direction's record contract is not a matter of public record, but a few details were reported by Capital FM back in 2014.

"[Simon Cowell] reportedly offered the boys £2.5 million EACH to sign with him again. Simon and his execs at his Syco want to get 1D to sign on for two more albums after their current deal runs out. At present, the boys are expected to release two more albums and a greatest hits record, but the new deal would secure a further two albums. One clause in the contract does state that the offer is only valid if all of the boys sign up as a five-piece, so if a member decides to go solo the contract would need to be reconsidered."
One Direction's Harry Styles is very savvy. Styles recently signed a solo contract with Capitol for $80 million for three albums. That is $26.6 million per album, split one way. Suddenly, Cowell's offer from just two years before looks pretty chintzy. Even at the 2014 pound-to-dollar conversion rate, that is about $4.25 million each for two more albums. That is $21.25 million for two albums and only $10.65 million per album.

Simon Cowell must have been feeling pretty shrewd about that contract, but when Zayn Malik left, that clause could have set Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Lewis Tomlinson free of at least most of their contractual obligations.


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Still, One Direction's contract could have also contained a non-compete clause. If the contract contains a non-compete clause, then that would explain the entire hiatus. That sort of clause stipulates that the band could not perform together for a given period of time after the contract is void, but it wouldn't preclude solo work. The typical non-compete clause usually encompasses one year, 18 months, or two years.

Niall Horan said last year in an interview that the hiatus was for about 18 months. Now, is that is a coincidence? Was Zayn Malik's departure part of a greater plan for One Direction? Is Harry Styles gaining recognition for the whole band with his current reputation-building activities? Is Zayn Malik going to return?

Do One Direction's Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Lewis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan have a hiatus strategy that includes some elements of these strategies?

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]