According to their label, the guys sold 8 million copies of their single "What Makes You Beautiful," 3 million albums and 1 million DVDs, totaling 12 million units in less than 12 months. ("Beautiful" has sold 3 million copies in America alone.) The group's debut album not only went platinum in the U.S., it's the second-biggest-selling album of the year, bested only by Adele's 21. Additionally, 1D's LP is the top-selling debut album for 2012 so far.
Their concert DVD also happens to be the biggest seller of the year, going platinum three times. It's probably not shocking that Directioners are gearing up to see the guys hit the stage at the 2012 MTV VMAs. MTV News caught up with Keith Caulfield, the associate director of charts/retail at Billboard on Thursday and we asked him to weigh in on the U.K. group's phenomenal rise.
"It kind of feels like whenever we write about One Direction, there is some incredible new achievement to note," Caulfield told us. "One Direction is taking over the world and we're all just watching them conquer the globe. It's just incredible."
Sure, the guys are cute, but Caulfield noted that they're not selling records on their looks alone. "Honestly, if the music wasn't good, it wouldn't be doing as well as it is," he stressed. "They're not just selling to 12-year-olds; they're selling to people across demographics. There's something to be said that they are young but they don't seem that young. They happened to have the right time, right place."
Unsurprisingly, the band seems overjoyed by all of the success. "We are obviously ecstatic and incredibly humbled by our award today," Liam Payne said in a statement about the band's latest sales achievement. "We have an incredible team of people around us who have helped us achieve this and above all we would like to thank our fans. We owe all our success to them."
The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement that the guys are up for two Moonmen, Best New Artist and Best Pop Video. "We're really looking forward to the VMAs," Payne told MTV News about the awards show. "It's quite nerve-racking as well, because obviously, there's been so many historical moments and stuff that have happened at the VMAs. Now we want to make a moment ourselves, but who knows?
"I think performing at the VMAs is such a huge occasion," Payne said. "I think it ranks up there with one of the best performances we'll do so far."
In addition to prepping for their first-ever VMAs, the guys are also hard at work on their sophomore release, which will see them hitting the studio with a number of collaborators, including British singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, who worked with the guys on the Up All Night track "Moments."
"The album is going to be the one to watch," Caulfield noted. "It'll be really interesting, I think, to see how the second album does because it's one thing to be this breakout phenomenon with your very first album, but can you sustain that success into a second album? And we've seen a lot of acts have difficulty transitioning, but if anyone can do it, it's the boys of One Direction."
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