2015 was the year that millions of young girls’ hearts around the world were broken. Why? First Zayn announced he was quitting One Direction, then the group announced they would be going on hiatus in 2016 and now their break seems to be getting longer. The group released five albums and broke records left, right and centre thanks to their ridiculously huge fan base. It’s estimated that each of the boys, including Zayn, is worth £20 million thanks to the group’s huge success – but what was it about the group that made them so big?
Building up connections
The group was formed on the 7th series of the UK’s X Factor, which aired in 2010. The show has a strong following on social media and the group used social media to connect with fans while in the competition.
Thanks to social media, fans throughout the world were able to follow the group’s progress on the show and keep up with them after the show had ended. By the time One Direction came to releasing their first album, Up All Night, they already had an international fan base who were keen to buy the album, all thanks to social media.
Even though the group only came 3rd on the X Factor, Simon Cowell saw huge potential in them, thanks in part to their growing popularity across social media. Thanks to Simon Cowell’s connections, the group were able to work with many of the industry’s biggest names and were provided with many top promotional opportunities, including regular slots on Cowell’s many TV talent shows around the world.
All five One Direction albums were released in the month November. This was part of the plan to get the album out during the lucrative pre-Christmas sales period.
Sticking to a formula
The November album release was one part of a formula that the group stuck to. Each album, except their last one, Made in the A.M., had an accompanying world tour, during which the group would start recoding their next album.
Merchandise and more merchandise
Think of an everyday object and chances are, you can buy one with One Direction on it. The group was a marketer’s dream come true – anything you put the boys’ faces on would sell. Part of the reason why the group was such a success was because there was a huge push to get their merchandise sold, which helped reinforce the group’s brand and get their name out there more.
A lot of the earlier One Direction songs, such as ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ and ‘Live While We’re Young’ are quite catchy and helped bring One Direction to global success. Later songs, such as ‘Drag Me Down’ and ‘Night Changes’ show a more mature sound, though there are still catchy elements to get listeners hooked.
Part of the group’s appeal is that there are good-looking in their own way. Their good looks are one of the reasons why fans have taken a liking to them so much.
Never stopping (until they split up, of course)
Many pop acts release and promote one album, then you might not hear much from them for two or three years, or even longer. By the time they come to release their next album, their fans have moved on. Because One Direction released an album every November, they made sure to strike while the iron was hot.
Lack of competition
When One Direction released their first album in 2011, they didn’t face much competition because there weren’t any other boy bands troubling the charts. There was Justin Bieber, who was targeting the same sort of demographic, but One Direction grabbed people’s attention because a lot of the big names in music were solo acts.
Right place, right time
There are many reasons why One Direction were so successful, but the boys just so happened to be in the right place at the right time. Lots of things could have stopped the group from forming – one of them might not have auditioned, for example, or one of them could have had a bad audition and failed to make it through.