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One Direction not broken as new records broken with new record

By | Published on Tuesday 4 August 2015

One Direction

Hey, naysayers of Planet Pop, with all your chattering about and, dare I say it, sneaky celebrating of the slow demise of the One Direction machine, you’ve all seen the stats for their new single ‘Drag Me Down’ right? Perhaps Zayn Malik was dragging them down all these years, after all.

OK, 1D are still in a downwards trajectory having peaked eighteen months back but, as I’m sure we noted at the time, they peaked damn high, so are still doing perfectly fine thank you very much, even as they slip down the ranks. And surprise new track ‘Drag Me Down’ not only topped the iTunes charts in 82 countries after going live on Friday, but it also broke some of those Spotify records Norris McWhirter is always going on about.

First, it broke the record for greatest number of streams over one day on the Spotify network, being streamed 4.75 million times on Friday. And then, second, all those millions of streams helped the track go to the top of the Spotify Global Chart on its first day of release, the first record to ever do so. So, well done one and all.

Music Business Worldwide noted yesterday that the new release was pretty absent across the YouTube network when it first arrived on Spotify and iTunes at the weekend, possibly helping with the impressive stats on those two platforms.

Presumably the Google-owned video site would have liked a 1D exclusive itself, even if via Vevo. Though the fact that Sony seemed to be able to keep unofficial uploads of ‘Drag Me Down’ off YouTube is, perversely, good news for the site, given that it seems to prove that rights owners can control the distribution of their content on the video platform if they really put their minds to it.

Which helps Google as the record industry goes about trying to persuade politicians in Europe that YouTube is a wild west of unapproved content, and that the safe harbours in copyright law that enable the video site’s opt-out approach to content should be cut back. Google will surely say, “Well look at 1D, they were able to keep their new record off our platform, everyone else just isn’t trying hard enough”.

Of course, everyone else doesn’t necessarily have the resources of the 1D camp, assuming Sony was doing more than just relying on basic Content ID to keep the new song off the YouTubes.

Meanwhile, back in the 1D domain itself, members past and present of the group continue to try to spoil our fun (and dispute our only slightly manufactured beef), with Malik tweeting his support for ‘Drag Me Down’ at the weekend. Then Liam Payne congratulated Malik on that new record deal via Nick Grimshaw’s Radio 1 show and subsequently said he’s “dead excited” to hear new music from his former bandmate. No fun at all.