The British Are Coming — And They’re Bringing Music!

April 30, 2012

Until very recently, I had no idea who One Direction was. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not a tween or have no tween-aged children, but this massively popular boy band from the U.K. completely missed my radar. It was only after every news outlet in town covered the news that the group added a Minneapolis stop to their 2013 tour that I took note.

The band One Direction

The band, formed during the 2010 season of “The X-Factor” in the U.K., has a very successful resume on the other side of the pond. In the eight months since its debut single dropped in September of last year, One Direction has broken records, topped charts, and sold out arenas, including selling out its headline tour just minutes after tickets were released. Topping it off, in February of this year, One Direction beat out Adele for Best Single at the BRIT Awards, the U.K. equivalent of the Grammys.

On the surface, it seems as if the five members of One Direction will enjoy the same level of success in the U.S., where the band has had an official presence since February of this year. Its single “What Makes You Beautiful” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 28, the highest entry from a new U.K. artist since the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” in 1998.  Even more impressive, last month One Direction’s album debuted at number one on the charts – making the band the first ever British group to debut at number one in the U.S. with their debut album. Ever. Beatles, who?

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, the label behind the band in the U.S. has its marketing machine running at full steam. Following a stint opening for American boy band Big Time Rush during its tour in February and March, One Direction performed at the 2012 Kids’ Choice Music Awards, Saturday Night Live and the Today Show over a span of only a couple weeks.  On the digital side, in addition to a more than 3.3 million fans following the main group Twitter account, each band member also has a Twitter account where they personally post. Each of the band members has close to, or more than, 3 million followers.

The band kicks off its 2012 U.S. tour next month, and, if the sales for its 2013 U.S. tour tell us anything, we have not seen the last of this British boy band.