The group 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. Their awards include six Brit Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, eleven MTV Europe Music Awards, seven American Music Awards (including Artist of the Year in 20), and 27 Teen Choice Awards, among many others.
Propelled to international success by social media, One Direction's four albums, Up All Night (2011), Take Me Home (2012), Midnight Memories (2013) and Four (2014) 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". 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.
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The album's lead single, "Live While We're Young", released in September 2012, reached the top ten in almost every country it charted in and recorded the highest one-week opening sales figure for a song by a non-U. The Official Charts Company revealed that One Direction had sold 2,425,000 records in the UK by February 2013.