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HERE COMES ZAYN

The first member of One Direction to go solo looks destined to top the HITS Album Sales and SPS charts. ZAYN’s highly anticipated full-length, Mind of Mine (RCA), streets this Friday, and by that time, preorders could be over 40k. Based on early reads, he looks destined for a bow of 150-175k in album sales and possibly 200k+, when single sales and streaming are factored in.

The pop star—repped by Sarah Stennett’s First Access Entertainment for management—delivered with breakout single “PILLOWTALK,” which currently boasts an RTD of 761k and has been streamed at Spotify 2.5m times globally. At iTunes, the track, which hit the digital marketplace on 1/29, continues to sell, as it holds in the Top 15 for overall singles.

 Since the album went up for pre-order, four instant grat tracks have gone on sale: “PILLOWTALK,” “iT’s YoU,” “BeFoUr” and “LIKE I WOULD.” And when it physically streets, there will be a Target exclusive, which includes two bonus tracks: “DO SOMETHING GOOD” and “GOLDEN.” “PILLOWTALK” is also #7 at Top 40 radio and #19 at Rhythm, and it’s still climbing. Meanwhile, the video for “PILLOWTALK” has raked in 247m+ views in a single month.

He’ll appear on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday night (3/24) and perform at the iHeartRadio Theater in NYC on the following night, street date; the latter event will feature a Q&A session moderated by iHeart’s Elvis Duran. The “ZAYN Album Release Party” will be available via iHeart stations and digital properties.

A big indicator of the size and reach of ZAYN’s solo success will be his tour, the announcement of which may well follow the release of the album. One Direction earned $125m in 2015 alone, the majority coming from their 74-date world tour, which earned seven-figure grosses at each stop. That’s a tough act to follow, so to speak, but all of ZAYN’s initial sales and streaming numbers are proving that he’s carving his own path with a clear-cut vision. That should apply to his live show as well.

One Direction initially announced their hiatus in August, about five months after ZAYN jumped ship and three months before they released the last album under their SYCO/Columbia deal. At that time, whether or not fans of the five-turned-to-four-piece would rally behind the individual performers for their solo ventures was unclear. Does the loyalty of Directioners lie with the boys or does it lie with the beloved brand that they’ve become so attached to over the last five years?

The answer to that will solidify—and the game will intensify—once Harry Styles finds a label team and starts to play, considering he’s arguably the hottest free agent out there right now. Stay tuned for updates, but for now, ZAYN reigns.

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