One Direction (commonly initialised as 1D) are an English-Irish pop boy band based in London, comprising Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. They signed with Simon Cowell's record label Syco Records after forming and finishing third in the seventh series of the British televised singing competition The X Factor in 2010. Propelled to international success by social media, One Direction's three albums, Up All Night (2011), Take Me Home (2012) and Midnight Memories (2013) broke records, topped charts in most major markets, and generated hit singles including "What Makes You Beautiful", "Live While We're Young" and "Story of My Life".
Their achievements include four Brit Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards among many others. According to Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment UK, One Direction represented a $50 million business empire by June 2012. They were proclaimed 2012's "Top New Artist" by Billboard. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, by April 2013 they had an estimated personal combined wealth of £25 million ($41.2m) making them the second wealthiest musicians in the UK under 30 years of age. After the release of Midnight Memories, One Direction became the first band in the US Billboard 200's history to have their first three albums debut at number one. Additionally, the album was a global success, debuting at number one on the UK Albums Chart, and became the biggest selling album worldwide of 2013.