There can be little doubt that One Direction are one of the most successful bands in modern history. The facts speak for themselves, One Direction have had five smash-hit albums, four massive world tours, and a list of awards that is simply eye-watering. Of course, some elements in the media like nothing better than to take pot-shots at success and it seems that some are desperate to knock One Direction’s success. In some ways, One Direction are an easy target for the nay-sayers, largely as a result of their X-Factor roots.
It is perhaps a measure of One Direction’s success that six-months after they began their hiatus, they are still landing music industry awards. Billboard recently announced that One Direction had won the award for best group for the third time.
The awards just keep coming for One Direction, as Unreality TV reports that the boys scooped two trophies, including the Best International Band prize at last night’s MTV Italy awards. It seems barely believable that One Direction have won over 240 music industry awards in five years. Look at it another way, One Direction have won an industry award every week for the whole lifetime of the band.
No one needs to be reminded that One Direction were formed on the 2010 season of Simon Cowell’s show. Cowell is a controversial figure, he is largely despised by the music press as grasping, vacuous and greedy. To be fair he isn’t exactly popular with One Direction fans either. That said Cowell recognized a gap in the pop market and formed Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik into a boy-band to fill that gap. No one, not even Cowell, could have anticipated that One Direction would grow to become the biggest thing in pop music for many years.
Despite One Direction’s success, much of the music media has written them off as a manufactured band singing other people’s songs. With One Direction, the claim has always been that style is more important than substance. The music industry expected One Direction to go the way of the vast majority of X-Factor winners.
The formula that One Direction were expected to follow was that they would hit the No. 1 spot at Christmas with their “winners single.” They would release a moderately successful album, have a moderately successful tour, and then quietly disappear, leaving the music industry to serious musicians.
Social media was perhaps the secret ingredient in One Direction’s success. It seems incredible now, but in 2010 social media was in its infancy. Who would have believed that, less than six-years after their formation, One Direction would have 200 million followers across their social media platforms. Of course, One Direction’s key market was seen to be young people, the very people who were so quick to embrace social media.
One Direction fans were suddenly able to communicate directly with each other and with the band. Social media enabled One Direction fans to have access to instant information about what the band were up to, and just as importantly they were able to communicate with each other about their love of One Direction.
No one would argue that Cowell found a winning formula with One Direction; the combination of good looks, likeability, a sense of fun and good singing voices proved a winner. That formula does not explain One Direction’s longevity. The key to that is that One Direction were young boys when the band was formed. No one could have predicted that the creativity would start to flow as One Direction matured. One Direction found their own voice, and their fans loved that voice. As One Direction matured, their fans matured with them and they began to reach new audiences.
Of course One Direction fans are worried about the future. With the boys currently enjoying a long break the future is unclear but fans have been assured that One Direction will return. Fashion and Style are even reporting that Zayn Malik is “secret talks” with Harry and Louis about a possible return to One Direction next year. Mind you the source of the story does appear to be an even less reputable webzine who quote an unnamed source based on a comment Zayn made to a newspaper last year.
One Direction continue to stack up industry awards even whilst they are not together, and it is often their fans who ensure that those awards are won. You have to wonder if One Direction could ever totally walk away from those fans?
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