One Direction ‘make £100m in two years’

The figure makes the boyband one of the richest bands in the world

X Factor runners up One Direction are reported to have made £100m between them in the last two years, with their record label racking up £200m.

The revelation was made in a new biography of Simon Cowell, according to The Mirror and would mean that the band, who came in third place in the 2010 series of the X Factor behind Rebecca Ferguson and Matt Cardle are some of the richest musicians in the world.

The figure would see them catch up with The Beatles legend Paul McCartney, who is reported to be worth £665m after 50 years in the business, U2 with £514 and Mick Jagger, who is worth an estimated £190 million, according to the Sunday Times Rich List.

According to music industry figures, the figure could be accurate. However, most of their profits will have gone to the band’s record label and management. Music Week editor Tim Ingham tells NME that although the figure may be “slightly inflated”, it is not “cartoonish tabloid fiction”. “Sony Music chairman Nick Gatfield said earlier this year that 1D “represent a $50 million business” to Sony – a figure which may rise to $100m next year.” If Gatfield was talking about pure profit, Ingham says, One Direction could soon generate $200m (around £125m) for their label.

He added: “This money is likely to be derived from a combination of record and DVD sales, live performances, merchandising, licensing – such as the on/off 1D Nickelodeon cartoon in the US. A very significant cut of all of these revenue sources will almost certainly go to Sony & SyCo [Simon Cowell’s record label], but they won’t get all of it, so let’s go ahead and say 1D could generate £200m a year from these areas.”

“Others benefitting from the 1D phenomenon will include their management company Modest,” he says. “Who ultimately will decide with the band which sponsorship and advertising deals they’ll do. The most recent high-profile of these was the recent Pepsi deal for an estimated multi-million fee – another source of big money for the group.”

What One Direction have shown, Ingham says, is that with the right songs, image and strategic management, boybands can still be a highly profitable business. “Even if you’re in a band which is staunchly anti-brand deals; even if you’re all about the music and regard Harry Styles’ blinding grin as symbolic of music’s blackened commercialisation, you can still take heart from the 1D phenomenon”, he says.