The world of media has a One Direction fetish. It is widely accepted that One Direction have one of the strongest and most loyal sets of fans on the planet. Fans scour the global media for the smallest piece of information about One Direction, and they are almost forensic in their analysis of every story. Between the four members of One Direction and the band’s official Twitter account, there are over 100 million followers. Facebook has an almost uncountable number of One Direction fan pages and it would take you years to read all the One Direction discussions on blogging platform Tumblr.
With such a huge fan base to cater to, there is no question that One Direction are big news. Not a day passes without an avalanche of One Direction stories. In the days of the internet and social media it is almost impossible to make a good living in the music industry without a constant stream of publicity. You could say that publicity is the lifeblood of musicians. Barnum is said to have claimed that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” Many One Direction fans would disagree.
Earlier this week it was reported in Inquisitr that many of the U.K.’s major news outlets “flip-flopped” on their stories about One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson. In the morning they were reporting that Tomlinson flew off to Switzerland for another holiday with rumored new squeeze Danielle Campbell. Later the same day Tomlinson was photographed in an airport in Atlanta Georgia. As a result the same publications ran stories suggesting that Tomlinson was moving to L.A. to be near “baby mama Briana Jungwirth.”
Of course news outlets are primarily in the business to make money and One Direction fans are seen as a lucrative market for items of “news.” At first glance, it might seem that this represents a win-win situation. One Direction get publicity, fans get stories about the band and the news outlet earns revenue. That is of course all well and good, until it’s not.
Yesterday showed how some outlets are prepared to exploit One Direction fans with sensationalized stories that sometimes have little basis in fact. Early in the day, U.S. Weekly claimed that One Direction were splitting for good rather than taking an extended break. Social media and Tumblr went into meltdown over the speculation that was all based on the supposed comments of an unattributable source.
“One Direction decided not to renew their recording contract after finishing their tour in October, the 1D thing just ran its course. They’ll remain friends, but they are exhausted and want solo careers.”
Even if the source is totally genuine and correct, the claims to not bear up to even the most superficial scrutiny. One Direction’s recording contract has perhaps expired, maybe they didn’t sign a new one because they want to move to a new label or start their own. Tomlinson has after all registered a new label, perhaps future One Direction music will be released on that label. It could equally be the case that One Direction simply want to wait to see what offers come their way when their hiatus is over and they are ready to make more music.
By the end of the day yesterday numerous sources were running stories denying that One Direction’s split would be permanent. Billboard reported another “unnamed source close to the band” who said that “nothing has changed regarding hiatus plans for the group, and all will be revealed in due time from the band members’ own mouths.”
It must be incredibly frustrating and disorienting for One Direction fans to see such contradictory news stories in a single day. the end effect is that fans end up disorientated and not having a clue what to believe about One Direction. Of course it could be argued that this is exactly the situation that news outlets intend to create.
If One Direction’s fans do not know what to believe, then the chances are they will scour every possible source in search of the truth. This means more coverage and more income for a wider range of outlets. A cynic might argue that the media industry sets out to exploit One Direction fans by keeping them off balance.
When it comes to One Direction and their fans, balanced and accurate reporting is something all too rarely found.
Let us know below how you feel about the way One Direction are portrayed in the media.
[Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP]