Zayn Malik’s abrupt departure from boy band sensation One Direction may have broken a lot of teenage hearts, but it certainly hasn’t hurt the group’s music streams. Spotify reports that the guys’ music increased 769 percent in streams this week in the United States alone.
One Direction is already one of the most-listened-to groups on Spotify, with over a billion total streams, according to Kevin Brown, Spotify’s Head of Label Relations for Europe. Yet in a twist of positivity during a time when fans are mourning the loss of arguably the best singer of the group, streams increased dramatically.
“One Direction are one of the biggest bands in the world, with over 1.4 billion streams on Spotify. Looking at One Direction’s streams in the U.S. on Spotify yesterday, we can clearly see the ‘spike of sadness’ happening around 5 p.m.-6 p.m. (ET), when their millions of fans paid tribute to Zayn by listening to One Direction’s music together all over the world.”
Even with the significant increase in streaming, is there a chance that Zayn’s departure will ultimately hurt the band’s album sales? Not likely, states Billboard, since albums sales would have probably decreased whether Zayn stayed in the band or not. Billboard also reports that most boy bands hit peak sales with their first two albums, and it’s all downhill from there.
In 2014, One Direction released their fourth album, FOUR, yet numbers were already indicating that sales began to dip after their second album release, 2012’s Take Me Home. The group’s first album, 2011’s Up All Night, still leads in the most sales, and according to Nielsen, was the No. 3 best-selling album in 2012.
Meanwhile, rumors and speculation continue to circulate around Zayn’s surprising goodbye. Shortly after announcing his departure and blaming it on stress and lack of privacy, Zayn was seen walking into a recording studio, which created a whirlwind of gossip that he left One Direction to start work on a solo project.
Others blame Zayn’s fiance, Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards, for his decision to quit the band.
Numerous fans, however, have taken to social media to defend him, saying that his heart was just not in the band anymore, which certainly showed in many recent performances. Some people, however, are less forgiving of the heartthrob’s sudden leave, with reports of fans selling their concert tickets after learning Zayn would not be there.
Only time will tell if Zayn truly wants to stay out the spotlight and live his life “as a normal 22-year-old,” but in the meantime, One Direction plan to carry on as a four-piece band.
Although history shows that boy bands typically have an expiration date, heightened even further if a band member leaves early, One Direction have already made their own history time and time again that went against predecessors. Whether they can carry on with their worldwide success or not isn’t something that can always be judged by previous boy bands, but more so in the boys’ determination, timing, and sustained fan interest.