Friday, December 14, 2012

UK-Irish Boy Band One Direction Named As MTV's 2012 Artist of the Year

From (blog):
One Direction named MTV’s 2012 Artist of the Year

In this March 31, 2012 file photo, One Direction, from left, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles arrive at Nickelodeon’s 25th Annual Kids’ Choice Awards in Los Angeles. On Nov. 13, 2012, One Direction released its sophomore album, “Take Me Home,” which comes eight months after the boy band dropped its debut, “Up All Night,” which debuted at No. 1 and is platinum. AP Photo/Chris Pizzello File

NEW YORK — They’re platinum. They’re fascinating. And now One Direction is MTV’s 2012 Artist of the Year.

MTV says the fivesome is “the clear choice for the top spot” after a year that included two No. 1 albums, hits such as “What Makes You Beautiful” and a sold-out world tour.

One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson calls Thursday’s honor “the icing on the cake.”

MTV’s team of music staffers chose Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” as song as the year.

One Direction placed third on the U.K. version of “The X Factor” in 2010 and made their U.S. debut in March with the No. 1 album “Up All Night.” Their sophomore album, “Take Me Home,” was the year’s third-highest debut.

The group also made Barbara Walters’ most fascinating people of 2012 list.
Also, from
One Direction's Right Direction: The Billboard Cover Story

As 2012 dawned, few American adults outside the most dedicated of Anglophiles knew much, if anything, about One Direction. In part, that's because the kind of boy-band pop One Direction had already turned into 2011's fastest-selling debut album in the United Kingdom (aided by the most preordered single in Sony Music history) doesn't target adults. And in part it's a matter of history: In the decade that passed since the peak of the boy-band craze led by Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync, the U.K. groups that kept the sound at the top of charts overseas were barely able to translate their success beyond a single on American shores.


Of course, One Direction would change all that, and write a little bit of history in the process.

By Nov. 30, as the sun began to set on 2012, the group had invaded the New York area for a week that included three sold-out arena shows (two in Connecticut and its first headlining gig at Madison Square Garden), a private fan convention in New Jersey to meet and greet with die-hards who'd been flown in from more than 35 countries, visits to "Letterman" and SiriusXM-and to cap it all off, the opening slot at New York's biggest pop concert of the year, WHTZ's Jingle Ball.

"This week's been crazy, crazy busy but so much fun," says Louis Tomlinson, the group's oldest member at just a few weeks shy of 21, toward the end of the band's whirlwind takeover of Manhattan. "To have this opportunity to come here and perform is amazing . . . It's almost a cliché but it's so true-if anyone hadn't bought a record, we wouldn't be here."

So how did Louis, Harry, Zayn, Liam and Niall accomplish what no British group had done before, let alone a boy band, by topping the Billboard 200 with its first two albums (March's "Up All Night" and November's "Take Me Home") and going from virtual unknowns to mega-stars in less than a year's time? Social media played a crucial part, as it did in so many of the breakout stories of 2012: Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen, PSY. But One Direction was bigger than an Internet meme, and that's thanks to an aggressive touring plan and the combined efforts of a team led by industry veterans Richard Griffiths, Harry Magee, Steve Barnett and Simon Cowell, who signed the group to his Syco imprint shortly after the act finished third on the U.K. "X Factor" in 2010.


A healthy dose of intuition helped, too. The first inkling that something might click stateside came Feb. 26 at Chicago's 4,400-capacity Rosemont Theater. The gig was an 11th-hour opener for the Nickelodeon-created boy band Big Time Rush on the latter's sold-out "Better With U" tour. One Direction had just released "What Makes You Beautiful" as its first official single in the United States less than two weeks prior, and "Up All Night" was still weeks away from domestic release. But minutes before the band members took the stage, nervous that no one would know their names let alone care, manager Griffiths and former Columbia Records chairman Barnett heard 4,400 girls chanting "One Direction!"

"We hadn't gone to radio-we'd just put a track out-and yet everyone knew all the words to every song," says Griffiths, a longtime record label executive who co-founded Modest! Management with Magee in 2003. "This was all fans communicating amongst themselves about this band."

Griffiths is referring to the "Bring1DtoUS" campaign, designed to boost the group's social media profile stateside. It grew the act's core fan base from 40,000 to 250,000 online from late November 2011 to the end of January 2012, and garnered more than 220,000 followers to a dedicated Twitter handle. Different cities competed to win a special concert, with Dallas winning a show for 10,000 fans at the Dr Pepper Ballpark in March and Los Angeles winning an event on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Soon, that rabid following began to translate to radio, which began to take notice of "What Makes You Beautiful" and the group as the conversation began to swell leading up to the album release. "Usually traditional sales lead the way for us, but we also had fans request them through our social media sites," says John Ivey, senior VP of contemporary hit radio programming and talent development at Clear Channel. "And the song was good, too, which always helps."

The Bring1DtoUS campaign spread the word on preorders of "Up All Night" and generated contest winners in each city where One Direction played with Big Time Rush. The initiative was so successful Columbia bumped up the album's release date a week ahead of schedule. Crowds of 4,000-5,000 swarmed in-store signings during release week, with a mob of 10,000 to see the group play "Today" on March 12, the day before "Up All Night's" U.S. release. By the end of the tour, One Direction had become the first British group in Billboard chart history to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with its first album.

"The campaign has always been fan-first and about One Direction as a band. It's never been about a traditional push around just one single," Columbia senior VP of marketing Doneen Lombardi says. Nevertheless, "Beautiful" quickly became a top five hit on the Billboard Hot 100, with follow-up "One Thing" later cracking the top 40.

As One Direction's album sales made headlines, tickets to a handful of spring U.S. tour dates were scooped up in minutes, prompting Modest! to make the bold decision to start selling tickets to a summer 2013 tour in April-more than a full year in advance. Those were quickly sold out, too.

"I actually rang Irving Azoff [Live Nation Entertainment executive chairman/Frontline Management Group chairman/CEO] to ask him if it was crazy even thinking of doing it, because not many people were agreeing with us about that. And he just said, 'Go for it,'" Griffiths says. "We knew that it was exploding everywhere, and we knew that we really needed to have a plan that took us all the way through to next year. We didn't feel we needed to wait and see-the evidence was there to make the most of it."

That still left a short-term problem for 2012, with One Direction already committed to a month-and-a-half's worth of dates playing U.S. amphitheaters before taking time off from touring to work on "Take Me Home." Creative Artists Agency's Mitch Rose, who books One Direction in the States, was able to get a December date at Madison Square Garden that would save the band months of time in tour routing by doubling as a global fan event. Columbia quickly spearheaded a "Go1Den Ticket" contest that gave fans in dozens of countries the chance to win a travel package with a trio of tickets to see the band's show and accompanying fan convention.

"There's a certain excitement that is generated when you have nearly 40 countries flying in to see a show," Rose says. "If you just think of how social is driving everything with acts like One Direction, the good will, the word-of-mouth, the excitement, the passion of all those countries is exponential for what can happen."

And while 2013 already looks to be an even bigger year for One Direction touring-wise, it's easy to see why industry eyebrows raised when Sony U.K. chairman Nick Gatfield spoke candidly of the band's fortunes at a creative industries reception in June. "What you might not know about One Direction is that they already represent a $50 million business-and that's a figure we expect to double next year," Gatfield said, indicating that Sony has more participation in the band's career than just recorded music. A Sony U.K. spokesman declined to expand upon or clarify Gatfield's comments, which Columbia U.S. chairman Rob Stringer echoed when asked to do the same. "You'd have to ask Nick," he said.

Still, Stringer had strong indications that the time was right to break One Direction in America, having previously worked with both Cowell (on acts like Westlife, Susan Boyle and Jackie Evancho) and Griffiths when the latter was running Epic U.S. during the '90s. "It does work well to have people who understand each other," says Stringer, another Brit expat on Team 1D.

But although another British boy band (and "X Factor" alum) was worked to U.S. audiences at the same time as One Direction, Stringer hesitates to declare a resurgent boy-band movement. "The Wanted record is a very good record. It's just not the same, and it's not on the same scale," he says. "Can you do what One Direction has achieved again and again? Probably not. But then again, 10 years ago 'N Sync and Backstreet Boys were in the same world and even on the same label. So, there's room, but we're happy to have One Direction have the lead that they do."

Want the full 1D story? Click Here to Buy the Issue

[Bigger image of Billboard's special One Direction front cover, from

Also, from the Entertainment section of the official STV website, [see full article for One Direction / 1D photographs]:
The Year of One Direction: The Music

One Direction are without a doubt the most successful boy band of 2012, so this week we'll be exploring the highs and lows of the hottest groups on the planet.

After coming third on The X Factor in 2010, they disappeared into relative obscurity for most of 2011. But away from the spotlight, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan were preparing an album that would catapult them to worldwide fame.

On September 11, 2011, their debut single What Makes You Beautiful became the most pre-ordered release in the history of Sony Music Entertainment and took the top spot in the UK singles chart.

Soon they were performing back on the X Factor 2011 final with JLS, which you can see in the player above.

By the end of the year, the boys’ debut album Up All Night, had become number two in the album charts, they’d secured a US record deal and their first UK tour was in full swing.

But things were just beginning for the five teenagers as they entered 2012.

One Direction continued to tour throughout January and they received the Brit Award for Best British Single on February 21.

Just days later, they had crossed the Atlantic to tour in support of Nickelodeon boy band Big Time Rush and on February 28 they released What Makes You Beautiful in the US.

Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number 28, it became the highest entry by a UK group's debut single since Spice Girls' Wannabe bowed at number 11 on January 25, 1997 and continued to climb to number four.

The next month, on March 12, they made a now legendary appearance on The Today Show that saw an estimated 15,000 fans flood into Rockefeller Plaza, outside the show's studios.

The next day they released their debut album Up All Night and entered the Guinness Book of Records as the first British group in history to get a US number one with a debut album.

Up All Night topped the charts in 15 countries across the world, with the boys continuing their tour in April to take in Australia and New Zealand.

But there was no time to rest. In May they jetted to Stockholm, Sweden, to start work on their new record.

Ed Sheeran and McFly’s Tom Fletcher were among the songwriters contributing tracks, but the boys weren’t away for long before they had brought the Up All Night Tour to the US.

On the same day they performed their first American show of the tour, the book Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction was published and topped the New York Times Best Seller List.

The next week, May 28, the band released One Direction: Up All Night – The Live Tour on DVD. Filmed in Bournemouth, the concert DVD topped the charts in 25 countries and debuted at number one on the US Billboard DVD chart.

The following month the boys were back in the UK to perform What Makes You Beautiful at the closing ceremony for the 2012 London Olympics.

By that point their debut album had sold three million copies worldwide and the boys had earned £100million between them.

On September 6 the boys were the big winners at the MTV Video Music Awards, collecting trophies for Best New Artist as What Makes You Beautiful won Best Pop Video and Most Share-Worthy Video.

Later that month, Live While We're Young was released as the first single from their second album, peaking inside the top ten in almost every country where it charted.

On November 9, their second album Take Me Home was released, followed by the single Little Things two days later.

Both peaked at number one in their respective charts, making the One Direction boys the youngest act in British Chart history to have a number one album and single simultaneously.

Within a week, the boys were performing Little Things in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance.

Take Me Home went on to top the charts in 32 countries, including the US where they became the first British band to ever have their first and second albums debut at the top spot.

But if 2012 was big, 2013 is set to get even bigger.

On November 13 it was announced that Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame is due to direct a 3D biopic for release in August next year.

They also have a 100-date World Tour to look forward to, including a series of six sold-out shows at London’s O2 Arena.

But success comes at a price. As the boys have dominated the charts and experienced victory at almost every turn, their personal lives have become the subject of intense scrutiny and the band have encountered more than a few scandals.