Well, well, well. You had us all fooled, One Direction. You had the world, myself included, convinced that you were little angels. Doing music for the sake of doing music. Living your dream with your boys by your side. Helping people get engaged at 1D concerts. Right little angels, you are, despite Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik getting caught with weed. I believed in you. I supported you. I defended you when people said you had a fan base made up on 12 year old girls and their mothers. But now the dark truth has come out. One Direction has a financial investment in 5SOS AKA 5 Seconds of Summer AKA the band One Direction has been promoting out of what we all thought was an adorable friendship between the nine guys. The filthy truth has been revealed.
Oh, wait. What do you mean this is no big deal? It's not as if artists promote other artists all the time, even out of financial interest! It's not like artists are constantly making their own record companies so they can sign musical acts that they will then profit off of — I'm looking at you Jay Z, Pete Wentz, and Usher. Okay, so it's an open secret in Hollywood that some musicians are promoting other musicians because they have a financial interest in doing so. In fact, it's so open that it can hardly be called a secret at all. Justin Bieber got big from meeting Usher and then being signed to Usher and Scooter Braun's joint label RBMG records, after all.
The thing that makes the One Direction-5SOS reveal such a scandal is the fact that, well, why all the secrecy? No one bats an eyelash when artists invest in other artists. That's not scandalous; it's a smart business decision. However, the fact that Billboard had to dig to discover that all five members of One Direction own collectively 50% of the shares in 5SOS LLP — and that they have since made about $25,000 off of 5SOS to this date — makes this all feel seriously sketchy. When you hide something that no one would have considered a big deal had it been an open fact, it kind of casts suspicion on the whole thing.
5SOS is best known in America as the band that opened for One Direction's Take Me Home Tour. Individual members of 1D have even promoted 5SOS's songs, ensuring that their music got out to One Direction's massive fan base and helping them become established as artists to watch. They're still lacking the kind of notoriety that One Direction has in the United States, but 5SOS is well on their way to superstardom thanks to help from the boys. However, up to this point, that all seemed like 1D just had a genuine love for 5SOS and were lending a helping hand between friends. Now it's been revealed that it was all just, ugh, good business.
I have no idea how to feel about this, honestly. On the one hand, I want to feel betrayed and lied to. It's like finding out that Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams hated each other on the set of The Notebook at first. Are One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer even actually friends or was that all a big lie to sell the latter's records? Does One Direction even like 5SOS's music or are they just pretending to so we'll listen to them? IS THAT EVEN HARRY STYLES' REAL HAIR IN THAT MANBUN OR WAS THAT A LIE TOO?
On the other hand, musicians investing in other musicians is absolutely no big deal and hardly any kind of scandal. So One Direction is making (more) money off 5SOS? So what? That doesn't change the fact that 5SOS is a talented band in their own right and that they're building their American fan base one appearance at a time. That doesn't change the fact that One Direction is displaying great business savvy in investing in such a great act. That doesn't change the fact that Styles grew this magnificent lion's mane all by himself.
The only thing that changes is that now we know that when we buy anything with 5SOS's face or name on it, then a portion of that money is going to the band that introduced them to the world. Whether that makes you more or less likely to do it is entirely your call.
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