E! News caught up with Forbes' Zack O'Malley Greenburg to find out exactly what's financially at stake for the young pop star.
"Last year, we had One Direction [estimated] at $75 million, which put them in our top 10 on our Celebrity 100 list. It is mostly fueled by live shows but also record sales and merchandise sales," Greenburg shared.
And while the 1D guys "played about 70 shows in the past 12 months," it seems like that would "definitely put them on track to meet if not exceed that $75 million figure for the next year."
Greenburg explained that while Malik "is walking away from a lot of money," that $75 million is pre-tax and "before all the agents and managers take their cuts, and then you divide it by five. It is still millions of dollars, but it isn't quite as outrageous as it looks on the surface."
He continued, "Could [Malik] do a fifth of the business on his own that One Direction is doing? I don't know, it would be tough, but don't forget that these guys have something that these other boy bands didn't have, which is social media, and they have a direct line to their fans and a way to retain the audience that boy bands of the past haven't had."
Wednesday morning, Malik broke the news in a Facebook post that he was exiting the band:
"My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I'd like to apologize to the fans if I've let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight."