One Direction’s Odd Hiatus Behavior? What Are Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan And Liam Payne Doing And Why?

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne along with Zayn Malik are establishing lasting careers, and putting away old contractual obligations for more lucrative new solo contracts. They are honing their skills as musicians and building new images for themselves, but fans have questions about what they appear to be doing and why.

Since One Direction’s hiatus, Harry Styles has only been seen with two other band members once or twice, as far as the public and press know. Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson accepted 1Ds Brit Award without Harry Styles or Niall Horan, even though Styles was reportedly in London and met with Liam and Louis very briefly just hours before the awards. Isn’t that odd?

One Direction’s Niall Horan performed at the AMAs, but no other 1D members went to hear him sing “This Town.” Former 1D member Zayn Malik was there and accepted an award, but Zayn was extremely nervous about seeing Niall. Is that strange?

Harry Styles has not attended any Music Awards shows since the hiatus, even though Styles has gone to after parties for awards shows. Could Harry be avoiding having the press take photos of him at these sorts of events? Strange?

Is One Direction angry with Zayn Malik? Apparently not. Niall didn’t look angry, and Liam sees Zayn from time to time as well. Was Harry Styles being deliberately rude when he didn’t show up for the Britt Awards? When has Harry ever been temperamental, much less rude? One thing to note is that at no time have all of them been together at the same time and place since the Hiatus started. Strange?

What about One Direction? Is all this career building leading them away from each other? Well only temporarily according to things Niall has been saying, and there could be some very good reasons for their 18-month hiatus. To understand those, one has to go back to the beginning, just before there was a One Direction, in the summer of 2010.

Zayn Malik had mentioned before that had his mother not awakened him, Zayn might have slept through his X-Factor audition. One can bet through that Harry Styles was ready at dawn. No one ever said so, but everyone knows Harry is like that.

One Direction’s Irishman Niall Horan, the ever responsible Liam Payne and the eldest of the group, Louis Tomlinson all managed to find their way into the competition as well. By some twist of fate, though, individually the boys didn’t make the cut, but Simon saved the day. As everyone now knows, Simon Cowell made the most lucrative decision of his life in a matter of moments. Simon saw another direction for these cute boys.

Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson became One Direction at Simon Cowell’s suggestion. Harry and Zayn had not even graduated high school, and Louis was the oldest at only 18. Still, Simon Cowell offered those 16–18-year-olds a recording contract with his company Syco Records and the boys gladly signed. Now here is the tricky part according to The IMMF, an organization that guides music management companies.

“There has been a new phenomenon in recent years whereby a high-level manager has created a band by holding auditions or by taking a band on via a TV talent competition such as Pop Idol or The X Factor. With the manager virtually guaranteeing massive TV exposure, or in the case of the manager creating the band and investing very large sums of money, commissions as high as 50 percent have been agreed.”

Did One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson sign a contract to give 50 percent of their earnings to management? It certainly sounds like the guidelines description is talking specifically about 1D and Simon Cowell. Normally managers get 10 to 20 percent of gross, but even traditionally the fee can go as high as 25 percent for a completely unknown band. Half, though, seems excessive.

One Direction When They Started Niall Horan Harry Styles Liam Payne Louis Tomlinson Zayn Malik
One Direction When They Started Niall Horan Harry Styles Liam Payne Louis Tomlinson Zayn Malik[Image by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]

Remember, One Direction’s share would be divided between the five of them, who were strangers at the time. Further, most of that money would stay in the common fund, in case it was needed for expenses. Still, X-Factor’s Simon Cowell was offering more exposure, and risking a lot of money. No one could have guessed how well his wager would pay off.

Now One Direction’s status has changed, and that makes a huge difference in management fees for people like Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan and Liam Payne, according to the IMMF’s management agreement guidelines.

“When a very well-established artist [like Harry Styles, Niall Horan or Zayn Malik] seeks a new manager, the latter will know that there is very little or no risk involved and that the artist already enjoys a high level of income. In such a case the manager might be willing to agree on a commission of 10-15 percent or even operate on a flat fee basis.”

One Direction’s contract would have been for a specific period, or it would have also stipulated a certain number of albums. The recording contract term can vary in time from six months to seven years according to Kent Law. Contracts can also be for an unlimited time and a certain number of albums. There are also option contracts that force the artist to stay with the management company but allow the company to choose each year whether to keep or drop the artists.

“Furthermore, most record labels refuse to accept more than one album per year, claiming they need the time for sufficient promotion. As regular marketing cycles last about 18 to 24 months, artists can deliver three to five albums per seven years.”

One Direction Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik
One Direction One Direction Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

No one knows exactly what Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik and the others may have signed. As teens with no experience, and complete unknowns they had no leverage. One Direction’s contract could have been an option contract. It is known that some X-Factor winners have had their contracts dropped, and that describes an option contract. Kent Law explains option contracts.

“Option contracts make it possible for record companies to both bind artists for a long time in case of success and drop the artist after each period if they are not satisfied with the artist’s success. This provides lots of power and planning reliability for the companies, while the artists are restrained in their career planning and in addition, are constantly bearing the risk to lose their employment.”

Before Zayn Malik left the band, Simon Cowell was pressuring One Direction to sign up for two more albums and a greatest hits album according to Sugar Scape, as soon as their other contract expired. There is still no greatest hits album because all that was contingent on all five boys being in the band. If anyone left, the contract would have to be renegotiated said other sources at the time.

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson had learned a few tricks by then, though. It was also rumored that there was a clause that permitted separate solo material to be conducted apart from that contract. The only reason this rumor had credibility since contracts are confidential, is because the rumor came out before Styles, Horan and Payne went solo and also before Zayn Malik left the band.

The contract was with One Direction as a band, not the individuals. At the time of the Sugar Scape article, the contract was still being negotiated.

“The £2.5million would be a signing on deal before they get the cut of royalties, songwriting and PRS. The concert deals would remain separate. The negotiations are already in the very early stages and are being kept top secret.”

Harry Styles solo contract for $80 million is considerably more than Cowell offered for One Direction, according to Sugar Scape. No one knows for sure if all the boys signed or not, but even if they did, Zayn Malik’s departure probably made at least some elements of the contract void, because of the way it was written. Just because some parts of a contract become void, doesn’t mean others are not enforceable, though.

Still, if One Direction did not sign a new Contract, but the original contract was an option contract, they might still be under some obligations even if the terms of the agreement were fulfilled. Kent Law believes option contracts are unfair, and may not hold up in court, but it is rare for cases like this to go to court.

“These provisions [option contracts] are certainly heavily one-sided and there are opinions in the literature finding them oppressive enough to underlie the standards for substantive unconscionability.

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson benefited from Zayn Malik’s departure, though, according to Forbes. Forbes predicted that Zayn would get his share of the band’s total assets, but it appears that all the boys received a huge payout when Zayn left.

Have One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson cashed out of their arrangements with Simon Cowell, Syco Records, and Modest Management? Normally, most of a band’s money is left in a lump sum and management pulls cash from this account for expenses. If the contract is up, and the boys are currently working solo, then, of course, the money would be divided. The money apparently added up to about $33 million each. That’s a pretty good reason for a hiatus.

Still, One Direction, with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson went on to make, Made In The A.M. which was released in November, 2015, nine months after Zayn Malik’s departure. They could not have done that without some sort of contract unless they were already obligated for five albums by the previous contract.

Zayn Malik had an eating disorder as well as battling severe anxiety, but at the time the entire world was stunned. One Direction’s Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan made their last album, then went on Hiatus.

Niall Horan mentioned in a video right before the hiatus that they would be on break for about 18 months. That seems pretty specific. Are the boys sitting out their One Direction contract? If the other requirements of the deal are met, but the time isn’t up, band members can just wait or the contract to expire. If that is the case, then the boys might not be allowed to make public appearances together until all contractual obligations are met and time expires.


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One Direction’s contracts with Syco Records, Modest Management, and Simon Cowell will expire eventually so don’t despair. When they do Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and even Zayn Malik can get together all they want, if that is the reason they are staying apart.

While One Direction’s contracts are private and kept secret. Certain aspects of contracts are universal, and others are within certain limits. There are also general types of clauses found in contracts. It is quite possible that the boys are not supposed to make any public appearances together for a certain amount of time. There may be other limitations as well, which would account for their odd behavior.

Are One Direction’s Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson waiting out their contract?

[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]