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One Direction are a British-Irish boy band formed in London in 2010, consisting of members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. They signed to Simon Cowell's record label Syco Records after being formed and placing third in the seventh series of British television music competition The X Factor. They later signed in North America to Columbia Records.
Buoyed by the international chart-topping debut single, "What Makes You Beautiful", One Direction's debut studio album, Up All Night (2011), topped charts worldwide. Its number one debut on the US Billboard 200 chart, made One Direction the first British group in US chart history to debut at number one with their first album, a feat which was inducted in the Guinness World Records. One Direction supported the album with their Up All Night Tour. One Direction's 2013 World Tour is set to run for most of 2013, with tickets grossing $15.7 million for their Australian and New Zealand dates. The tour is set to be preceded by their second studio album, Take Me Home, which is scheduled for release on 12 November 2012. Besides their musical endeavors, One Direction have supported various charities and foundations, and have commercial endorsements with Pokémon, Nokia, HarperCollins and Hasbro.
Generating millions in combined music, merchandising and touring sales, One Direction have been described as sparking a resurgence in the boy band concept, and of forming part of a new "British Invasion" in the United States. As of June 2012, according to Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment UK, One Direction represent a $50 million business empire. By August 2012, One Direction have sold 12 million records. Their achievements include a BRIT Award and 3 MTV Video Music Awards. The Huffington Post proclaimed 2012 "The Year of One Direction".