The Beatles. 'N Sync. Busted. Many a boy band has been broken up before its time by a member it was deciding to try his hand at a solo career—and who could blame them? Going solo bumps your share of the record sales, adulation and groupies from 20% to 100%, and this simple math hangs like a specter over even the happiest of boy bands.
One Direction has generally been media-trained well enough to keep these rumors of solo ambitions under control—look at the way they shut down Barbara Walters when she asked about the possibility. Now, though, the 1D lads have got even more reason to avoid dreaming of going at it alone: The band's new three-album deal with Sony heavily penalizes all five members if one of them releases a solo album in the next three years.
According to The Sun, the financial deal has been put in place to ensure that the "Kiss You" band stay together for at least another three years.
The contract is said to outline that if one or more of the lads decides to leave during that time period, each member will receive less money than originally thought.
A source explained to the newspaper: "It's a really clever contract that the boys have signed up to. It means they have a real incentive to tough it out and stick together.
This makes sense on the face of it. Five years of One Direction (six if you count the X Factor run) seems plenty, and tracks roughly with the peaks of both 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys. By 2016, the market will be good and ready for a Harry Styles or Liam Payne solo career, to pick two names completely randomly.
Plus, you know what they say: The band with a contractual incentive to stay together, stays together.