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One Direction are an English-Irish boy band formed in London in 2010, consisting of members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. They signed with Simon Cowell's record label Syco Recordsafter being formed and finishing third in the seventh series of British television music competition The X Factor. They subsequently signed in North America with Columbia Records.
The release of One Direction's debut studio album Up All Night (2011) established their international breakthrough. The album was a commercial success that topped charts worldwide and marked the first time a debut album by a British group had bowed at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. They were inducted into the Guinness World Records as a result. The album yielded the international chart-topping single "What Makes You Beautiful" and was supported by the Up All Night Tour. Preceded by the record-breaking lead single "Live While We're Young", the group's second studio album Take Me Home was released in November 2012. The accompanying 2013 World Tour is set to begin in February 2013, with tickets grossing US$15.7 million for their Australian and New Zealand dates.
One Direction have been described as sparking the resurgence in the boy band concept, and of forming part of a new "British Invasion" in the United States. As of August 2012, One Direction have sold over 12 million albums, singles, and videos worldwide. Their achievements include a BRIT Award and 3 MTV Video Music Awards. Through combined music, merchandising, and touring sales, according to Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment UK, as of June 2012 One Direction represented a US$50 million business empire. The Huffington Post proclaimed 2012 "The Year of One Direction".