On July 31, 2015, One Direction released “Drag Me Down,” the group’s first single without former member Zayn Malik, and the song immediately debuted at No. 1 on iTunes in more than 80 countries. Later that day, One Direction performed the song in public for the first time at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, one of the many stops on the group’s 2015 “On the Road Again” world tour.
“Drag Me Down” is expected to be on One Direction’s fifth album, whose title and 2015 release date are to be announced. The song was released one day after it was announced that Malik has signed a solo deal with RCA Records.
One Direction was formed in 2010, when Simon Cowell and other “X Factor” decision makers put together five “X Factor” U.K. contestants (Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Malik) who auditioned for the show as solo singers. After One Direction came in third place on the show, Cowell (who was One Direction’s “X Factor” mentor) signed the group to Syco Music, the record company that he co-owns with Sony Music. One Direction has since become the world’s biggest-selling act to emerge from “The X Factor,” with numerous No. 1 hits and sold-out world tours. As of July 2015, One Direction has sold more than 54 million records worldwide, according to Sony Music.
Malik left One Direction in March 2015 while the group was in the midst of the “On the Road Again” tour. A few days after it was announced that Malik left One Direction, he told The Sun that he was working on solo music with producer Naughty Boy.
One Direction’s “On the Road Again” tour is expected to be the highest-grossing tour of 2015. The tour is playing to sold-out stadiums. One Direction’s 2014 “Where We Are” world tour, which also played to sold-out stadiums, was the highest-grossing tour of 2014, with sales totaling more than $290 million, according to Billboard.