Ex-One Direction star Zayn Malik has had a mysterious past few years, filled with long periods of internet silence and odd leaks of new music. Recently, Malik took to Twitter in order to inform fans that he has no new music or collaborations planned at the moment. The news came as a surprise to many fans and speculation instantly began as to why Malik would have no projects in the works.
Now, a new theory about potential problems between Malik and his label has begun to circulate, leading to the creation of a #FREEZAYN hashtag.
The saga behind the #FREEZAYN hashtag is long and complex, and begins as far back as 2018, the year Malik’s sophomore album Icarus Falls was released.
In March of that year, Malik tweeted out a link for a remix of his song “Don’t Matter” with the caption, “this was not a song I intended to put out, but due to unprofessionalism has been leaked by someone and my fans mean more to me than a stupid leak, so here it is free for you to enjoy, before my music drops.” This began an online conversation over potential issues between Malik and his label RCA Records.
Later in 2018, Malik seemed to confirm problems with his label by tweeting about forced delays imposed on his new album. Malik expressed frustration with a lack of release date for Icarus Falls and wrote, “I hear you guys…I know you want a date for the album and I do too. The label is holding me back but I promise I am doing everything I can to get my music to you…you will hear from me soon.” The album was released the following month.
When Malik tweeted “I do not have any new collaborations coming” yesterday, fans officially had enough. Several people began discussing the details behind the potential power struggle between Malik and RCA records and the #FREEZAYN hashtag began to spread quickly.
The predominant opinion seems to be that RCA is intentionally delaying Malik’s albums, refusing to market his songs properly by restricting them from radio, and promoting negative articles about the singer while attempting to stop any positive press. Accusations are also be made that RCA sent Malik’s vocals to several producers without his consent.
.@zaynmalik fans are trying to trend #FREEZAYN following a massive mishap with issuing consent of a song release. Sources are reporting RCA has sent Malik’s vocals to producers in the past without his knowledge and tried to release a remix without the singer’s consent
— chart data (@zayndata1) February 12, 2020
The #FREEZAYN hashtag continues to spread with several Twitter users voicing support for the singer. One user wrote, “Zayn left Simon Cowell and One Direction because of discrimination, lack of support of his health and being overworked and now he’s stuck with another label that’s mistreating him #FREEZAYN enough is enough.”
Another user compared the current situation to Taylor Swift’s highly publicized battle with Big Machine Records, saying, “Zayn’s issue should get as much as recognition as Taylor’s. More celebs should come out in his support knowing how much it sucks to not own your work and see it being used for purposes that don’t benefit you. It’s an ethical issue that needs to be known #FREEZAYN.”
As of this time, neither RCA nor Malik have commented on the hashtag.