One Direction has been on hiatus for well over 12 months, and the rumor mill has been quick to write them off as history. Since Simon Cowell brought Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik together to form One Direction, the “serious” music press has worked hard to write them off. Most expected that One Direction would go the way of most X-Factor acts. The X-Factor cycle is generally very predictable, the winner bags a No. 1 single at Christmas, they bring out an album a few months later. Then comes a tour in support of the album, then Boom! They are history.
Few suspected that One Direction would break the X-Factor mold. Most wrote them off as a “manufactured” group, singing manufactured music, aimed at 12-year-old girls. It’s probably fair to say, that the press has been more interested in stories about who the various members of One Direction are dating, than in their music.
Make no mistake, despite the backing of Cowell, One Direction faced considerable adversity. Cowell is well known for making his acts sign extremely restrictive contracts. He has total control over the output of his acts, and there was little reason to suspect that One Direction would be any different. Unlike their predecessors, One Direction did not burn brightly for a short period and then pass into history. They became the best-known band on the planet, and in the process became one of the best-selling groups in history. So, what happened? How did One Direction defy, what history tells us, is the fate of all boy bands?
Brit Awards 2017: One Direction Bag Award For ‘History’
There can be no doubt that One Direction made history. Whatever your view on their beginnings, there is no doubt that One Direction has won more music industry awards than just about anyone you care to name. Last night One Direction bagged yet another Brit Award for the video of the single “History.” It was One Direction’s 199th award win from over 350 nominations. As J-14 report it was the fourth year in a row that One Direction has won this particular award.
Of course, One Direction is on hiatus, so there was no chance that they would dominate the Brit Awards as they have done in the past. As Forbes reports, the big winners in the 2017 Brit Awards were David Bowie and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. The Forbes article gives a clue as to the adversity One Direction faces from the press.
“One Direction collected their seventh, and what might be their last, award for the fan-voted British Artist Video category for their music video for the single ‘History’.”
At least the Forbes article identifies the root of One Direction’s success, their fans. There can be no doubt that One Direction owes their success to their fans. The various members of One Direction have amassed over 200 million followers across the various social media platforms. Those fans are hugely loyal to One Direction, so anytime there is an award that is voted on by fans, you can expect One Direction to be there or thereabouts.
The social media strategy employed by One Direction is perfect. The key is their engagement with their fans. Last night, every member of One Direction took time to thank their fans. Liam Payne even surprised fans by turning up at the Brit Awards to accept their latest award. Payne was quick to praise One Direction fans when accepting the award.
“I know I speak on behalf of the boys when I say I cannot believe we are still winning these and the sheer devotion that our fans have shown online for this is absolutely amazing.”
“We’ve been taking a bit of time out and working on our solo material but One Direction still we are and it’s who we always will be.”
Fans were thrilled to hear Payne’s comments, as he gave the clearest indication yet, that One Direction are far from history.
Loads and loads of love !!! pic.twitter.com/TZ3BgAiQhF
— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) February 22, 2017
Louis Tomlinson recorded a short video to thank those fans, for voting “History” as the best video. One Direction knows that the fans are the secret to their success. They never forget that, and as a result, those fans remain incredibly loyal. Of course, most fans would not want One Direction to return to the grueling schedule they lived before their hiatus. Fans support the boys taking time out to follow their own paths for a while. It makes sense.
One Direction is far from history, and their relationship with their fans is simply perfect. As you will see, the video for “History” has over 250 million views on YouTube, this is not the end, this is history.
[Featured Image by Abraham Caro Marin/AP Images]