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The departure of Zayn Malik from One Direction may affect touring numbers, but it probably won’t have much impact on recorded music sales. That’s because One Direction’s recorded music sales almost certainly would continue falling had he stayed in the band.
Recent history has shown that boy bands maintain sales momentum for two albums. Like Jonas Brothers, ‘NSYNC and Backstreet Boys before them, 1D have seen their U.S. music sales fall from an early peak.
One Direction’s debut album, Up All Night, has sold 2.95 million units — presented as track-equivalent albums — through March 22, according to Nielsen Music. (Track sales have been converted to album sales at the standard 10-tracks-to-1-album ratio.) Sales slipped 12.2 percent for the band’s second album, declined a further 20.7 percent for the third and plummeted another 44.4 percent for the fourth and latest. One Direction’s last album has sold only 38.7 percent as many TEA units as its first.
*NSYNC didn’t even get to a fourth album. But its third album had a 61.5 percent decline from its second, which was 31.7 percent higher than its debut.
Backstreet Boys also hit their peak on the second album. The group’s third album represented a 57 percent decline (13.8 million to 5.9 million) and the fourth album a 70.2 percent decline (5.9 million to 1.8 million). The fifth and six albums have sold 229,000 and 130,000 TEA units, respectively.
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.
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