Zayn left One Direction! What are your thoughts on that? Does it spell the end or is the One Direction machine bigger than the parts? Is Cowell worried that arguably his biggest success story could be on the brink of collapse? Or is it an opportunity to make four separate albums a year rather than the one? To care or not to care, that is the question.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride of a career since they didn’t win X Factor back in 2011. (Remember who won? Nope, me neither.) They have released an album a year, every year. Done world tours – every year. Then there’s all the ‘other’ stuff that happens around these live shows and album releases: heavy SnapChatting, endless meet ‘n’ greets, dating famous singers who write songs about you afterwards. That’s a never ending 12 month cycle of rarely seeing your family and being forced to be with four other guys who you met on a TV show ALL THE TIME! That’s pretty odd when you think about it.
This endless schedule says a lot about the way in which successful acts have to operate in these times of immediate fan gratification. Do they get ‘time off’? Since the fan bubble may burst at any time, the pressure to keep working is constant. If they do stay busy 24/7, is it a surprise when a member leaves in order to ‘be a normal person again’? Don’t get me wrong: as jobs go it’s not a bad one. But a job is not a career and when you are on an endless merry-go-round of work it’s no wonder that the life span of a pop act is 5 years or less (until the obligatory re-union tour and album further down the line, of course).
Rather than thinking in terms of long term investment, these days the music industry rinses as much success as they can from an artist in as short a time as possible. If One Direction had taken an extra year between album three and four would this have happened? Maybe. Maybe not. But their fan base would have still been there to buy the next record. And Zayn might still have wanted to be a 22-year old mega-star.
I’ve been waiting nine years for my favorite band to release a new album. They haven’t lost me as a fan – if anything I’m more likely to buy physical product. Maybe we should give 1D fans the same credit and give the 1D boys a week or two off.
Oh and by the way, Matt Cardle won X factor that year, He was …great?