How much independence?
In my opinion, when One Direction (usually Liam) have spoken about control, they aren’t talking about public actions, promotional strategies, and publicity. They are speaking about artistic control and the creative process—songwriting, production—their sound. Did they have more and more writing and involvement with each of their albums? Yes. And it’s extremely important to them. They didn’t get to choose their singles, though. (Consider, too, did they choose their merch? Were they eager to release yet another—was it the fourth??—perfume? Or a 1D make-up line? No.)
November 2012 (no link)