It's sold over three million copies worldwide and fuelled a business empire worth somewhere near £50m - yet the pricetag of One Direction's debut album may have been a snip, according to Simon Cowell.
Rumours abound that the cost of Up All Night - recorded across Stockholm, London and Los Angeles with top songwriters such as Rami Yacoub, Carl Falk and Savan Kotecha - spiralled over the seven-figure mark.
But in an interview with yesterday's Evening Standard, Cowell protests that its total cost was "nowhere near" that sum.
The London newspaper's feature on the band also quote Modest Management co-founder Richard Griffiths, who reveals that the boyband were offered a "huge amount of money" for an endorsement deal last year, but they said no.
"It involved very little work from them," he said. "They turned it down because they said their fans would not buy that brand and they didn’t want to be seen to be pushing it on them.”
Syco MD Sonny Takhar dismisses any talk of 1D’s Twitter accounts being controlled by Sony. Combined, the five-piece have close to 30 million followers on the social media site between them .
“They’re from the social media generation, so they’re more equipped at telling us what’s going on than we are,” says Takhar.
“I don’t believe any record label can create a relationship between a band and their fans now. The fans know when it’s authentic and when a band is behind their Facebook and Twitter accounts and Tumblr or not.”
One Direction's What Makes You Beautiful enjoyed double-digit sales increases or better in a number of leading music markets following the band's Olympics closing ceremony performance.
The group's new EP, led by single Live While We're Young, is No.1 in nine countries on the iTunes chart on pre-orders alone.