Oh No, Zayn: Malik’s Solo Album Heads In One Direction — Downwards

Zayn Malik has shown his former bandmates that forging a solo career may prove to be more problematic than they envisaged. Malik walked out on One Direction last March, causing shock waves across the band’s fandom. Malik alienated many One Direction fans when just a few days after quitting the band, he was in the studio with his former friend, Naughty Boy. Since walking out on One Direction, just weeks into a massive world tour, Malik has been preparing for a solo career and last month, Zayn released his debut album, Mind Of Mine.

As reported in the Inquisitr last week, Zayn has every right to be proud of the fact that his debut album set records by debuting at No. 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. Malik was justifiably thrilled to see his album top the charts, but Zayn cannot have failed to notice that the level of sales were worrying.

The fact is that Zayn’s debut had just one quarter of the sales that his former bandmates enjoyed with Made In The A.M. back in November. If Malik was concerned over the level of sales he achieved in topping the charts, then Zayn will be distraught at this week’s sales. According to the Official Charts Company, Malik’s album dropped from the top of the U.K. chart to be this week’s No. 9.

According to the Sun, Zayn has only just made the Top Ten after selling a “measly” 6,144 copies in its second week. Malik only managed to sell 23,000 copies in the U.K. in grabbing the top spot. By comparison, One Direction’s Midnight Memories sold 237,000 copies in its first week. It seems that Zayn has even been outsold by 45-year-old former choirboy Aled Jones, with his release of a collection of songs he recorded almost 30 years ago. Malik’s sales are down around 75 percent in a single week.

The irony is that Malik still has an enormous fanbase, at least theoretically. By and large, Zayn’s album has been well-received by the critics, but the critics are not the record-buying public, who appear to have spurned Malik’s release. According to the Independent, “despite a huge marketing campaign to launch Malik’s solo career, Zayn has been humbled” after being outsold by Jones.

The problem for Malik is that his marketing campaign seems to have hit all the wrong notes. As the release of Zayn’s album drew closer, Malik tried desperately again and again to distance himself from One Direction and their music. Malik’s comments in controversial interviews in Fader and Billboard attacked One Direction’s music. Zayn claimed he never wanted to be in the band that made his name, he said he wanted to quit from the start. Those comments were not well received by the One Direction fans who make up Malik’s fanbase.

Malik needs to ask himself some tough questions about his attitude towards his former bandmates and their fans. Zayn has 18.6 million followers on Twitter, the vast majority of those fans are fans of One Direction. Zayn needs to ask himself how many copies of his album he would have sold if he took away those fans.

Many One Direction fans struggled to forgive Malik for walking out just weeks into a world tour. Zayn made it more difficult for himself by seeming to diss One Direction’s music and his former bandmates. It seems that Malik is now reaping the rewards of the seeds that he has sown.

Whilst the poor performance of his debut album may be a chastening experience for Malik, it should also sound a warning for his former bandmates. One Direction are currently enjoying a hiatus that will allow them to explore solo projects. Zayn’s experience demonstrates clearly what numerous former boy-band members have discovered in the past: no matter how successful you are as a band member, that success rarely translates into solo work. Malik and his record company will be wondering if sales of Zayn’s album will even cover the production and promotion costs.

[Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP]

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