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12:01 AM Friday, 3/23/12 |   |

The next boy band phenomenon is upon us.

One Direction has been grabbing the attention of U.K. girls since they started singing together on “The X Factor” in 2010 and their profile took a leap winning the Brit Award recently for best single, “What Makes You Beautiful.”

Still, it’s possible a U.S. reader might just be getting introduced to the band. After all, One Direction made its national television debut only a few weeks ago on the “Today” show. But the streets of Rockefeller Plaza were packed with screaming girls. And the band’s album, Up All Night, just debuted at No. 1 on Nielsen SoundScan.

But it was in no way an overnight success. As CAA’s David Zedeck noted, One Direction’s management team has been building the band’s online presence for months, creating a fan base prior to the single’s release.

The band’s agent in the U.K., Paul Fitzgerald, has already lined up 41 shows, including nine sold-out shows at London’s O2. The first seven sold out in less than two hours, Fitzgerald noted.

Oh, and all of the above dates are for next year.

“This band is breaking all the rules,” Fitzgerald told Pollstar. “You shouldn’t do a major theatre tour before your first album. They did, and sold 80,000 tickets in 12 minutes. You shouldn't break hall records on merchandise on your first tour. They did.  In fact, people were coming to the venues buying merchandise even though they did not have tickets to the show.

“It has been a long time since a British band has been in such demand so quickly.”

The members of One Direction were individual contestants on the “X Factor” but failed to qualify in the “Boys” category., a guest judge, suggested they sing together to qualify for the “Groups” category. Although they came in third, they were taken under the wing of Simon Cowell. And here we are.


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