Teens line up in Frisco for British boy band

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on March 23, 2012 at 11:23 PM

FRISCO – Hundreds of teenagers lined up overnight at the Dr. Pepper Ballpark to see the British boy band, One Direction, which will perform here Saturday afternoon.

Harleigh Nunez, 15, convinced her mother to drive nearly seven hours from southwest Louisiana so she could be first in line to see the group.

"This is our first chance ever to see One Direction live, in person," she said.

She along with her cousin spread sleeping bags and blankets on the sidewalk. Nearby, others set up tents while teenage girls danced and sang to the group’s music.
 
Last week, at least one teen was injured when a crowd rushed the doors of Barnes and Noble at Stonebriar Centre to get wristbands that would allow them into this event. Frisco police say 25 officers will be at the Ballpark when the gates open at noon on Saturday.
 
One Direction is only now making headlines, but teens in the know have been spreading and building the group’s brand for more than a year. Five young men formed One Direction during the British version of "The X-Factor." The band has since been building its name online.
 
"They've become this overnight sensation, but in a lot of ways, it’s been through a marketing effort on their behalf," said SMU assistant professor Jake Batsell, who studies social media.
 
Struggling musicians used to need a break on television or the radio for exposure. No more, Batsell said.

Record labels and their marketing teams have gotten smarter about how they promote the artist. Groups, like One Direction, make concentrated efforts to engage fans on social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube. The fans repay the loyalty by preaching the group’s praise.
 
"That’s one of the interesting skills of digital marketing these days," Batsell said, "is to convince audiences to persuade each other that something is cool."
 
This kind of buzz online propelled the group’s debut album, "Up All Night," to No. 1 on the Billboard charts last week. The album sold 176,000 copies in its first week.
 
A friend of Nunez’ cousin first introduced the high school freshman to a YouTube video of One Direction in the summer. Part of the appeal is the group’s youth - most of the members are themselves still teenagers.
 
"I just watched their videos and I loved them," she said of the quintet. "There’s five of them, so it’s not like Justin Bieber, where there’s only one."
 
Nunez then spread the word to her friends through Twitter and Facebook. She often tweets about some of the band members, hoping one of them might notice and tweet her back.
 
"I’m on Twitter all the time - constantly," she said. "I look at what they’re doing… they’re hot."

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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