With 5.1 million albums sold in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and millions more worldwide, One Direction’s success speaks for itself. But the British quintet isn’t the only one enjoying fans’ rabid devotion: In a phenomenon that can be called the One Direction effect, other artists are benefiting big time when the boy band associates with them.
Take Jason Derulo’s hit single “Talk Dirty,” which moves 4-3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its eighth week on the chart. Last November, as part of 1D Day, a seven-hour YouTube live stream the members of One Direction unveiled a hilarious video of themselves dancing around half-naked to the song, which was already a hit in Europe but barely catching on stateside. The video quickly went viral, with 1D fans making their own YouTube clips dancing to “Talk Dirty.” The number of YouTube detections-loosely defined as the number of plays from videos that other users have created — for the song quickly spiked 630%, from 78,000 on Nov. 23 to 612,000 on Nov. 24, and has continued to grow. U.S. sales of “Talk Dirty” jumped too: After moving 4,000 units for six straight weeks, the song doubled to 8,000 the week ending Nov. 24, and sales have skyrocketed from there, selling 242,000 in the week ending Feb. 9.
“It definitely had a big impact,” Warner Bros. Records senior VP of international Michael Nance says. “The song was a huge hit in their home market.”
Derulo is smartly capitalizing on the sensation, enlisting stars including Robin Thicke and Ariana Grande to appear in a forthcoming 1D-inspired “Celebrities Talkin’ Dirty” music video.
One Direction’s fame also arguably rubbed off on rising pop-folk star Ed Sheeran, who wrote “Little Things” and “Over You” for the group. In November, he sold out three straight dates at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
But the latest recipient of One Direction’s clout is British girl group and fellow U.K. “X Factor” alum Little Mix. The acts have the same label (Syco) and management (Modest!) — and 1D member Zayn Malik is engaged to Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards. Little Mix released its second album “Salute” on Feb. 4, which bows this week at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 with sales of 43,000. The group doesn’t have a hit single in the United States, but does have One Direction’s social media strength behind it. On Feb. 5, Malik tweeted praise for his fiancée and the album to his 12 million followers, and was retweeted more than 90,000 times. When 1D’s Niall Horan did the same for his 17.2 million followers, he was retweeted 75,000 times.
“It’s great to have that support,” Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock says. “The 1D boys have been really supportive and dedicated.”