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1D, BBC, JB & i-D

On the eve of the release of their Q4 albums, the JB v. 1D battle is still heating up, with promo in Blighty turning red-hot. Bieber is interviewed as the cover star for the winter edition of trendy U.K. mag i-D, complete with smoldering (if you like that sort of thing) black-and-white shots, while the One Direction boys visited the Beeb’s Radio 1 Live Lounge for a special performance on Greg James’ afternoon show.

Among other things, Bieber tells writer Paul Flynn about feeling he can identify with the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, his love for the A* cast of collaborators involved in Purpose, including Rick Rubin and Kanye West, as well as longtime manager come mentor Scooter Braun.

Says Bieber: “Scooter is probably one of the smartest people that I have ever met. Very, very, very strategic. Always on. Always thinking of more things to do and more things to accomplish. He keeps me driven, for sure. Because the artist always wants to chill. Like, ‘I made my money. I just want to chill.’But he figures out ways for me to get excited about what I want.”

Announced at the BBC Teen Awards last week after they won Best British Group, One Direction dropped by Maida Vale Studios in London today for what is, surprisingly, their first ever Live Lounge performance. The SYCO-signed foursome played six tracks for a studio audience including “Drag Me Down,” new single “Perfect,” “Story of My Life,” a cover of the Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney track “FourFive Seconds” and new song “Infinity” from Made in the A.M.

The band closed with a cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn,” a song they haven’t played since performing it on The X Factor five years ago, right at the beginning of their ascent to stardom. And despite their well-publicized hiatus, 1D promised James they’ll “be back soon.”

In case you haven’t been bombarded with enough numbers over this past week, here are the global stats of all-time on Spotify for two pop titans:

One Direction
-        16m monthly listeners

-        2.2bn streams to date
-        Most-streamed in London, Mexico City and Quezon City (Philippines)
-        Most-streamed track: “Story of My Life” (138m streams) 

Justin Bieber
-        22m monthly listeners

-        1.6bn streams to date
-        Most-streamed in London, Mexico City and New York
-        Most-streamed track: “What Do You Mean” (251m streams)

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