Syco Music is a British record label formed by Simon Cowell in May 2002. Syco Music has offices in London and Los Angeles and is the current UK label One Direction is signed to. Syco has experienced most success within the UK music market. From 2002 until present, Syco has experienced 33 UK number-one singles (44 worldwide total), with 7 from One Direction.  

Numerous former clients of Syco have complained to media about the restrictions placed on them by the label and being subjected to bullying from Simon Cowell, as well as being creatively "shelved" (unable to record but unable to leave the label)[1][2][3][4].  

As of January 2017, Zayn, Niall and Liam are no longer affiliated with Syco Music. Zayn exited One Direction on 25 March 2015 and signed with RCA Records on 29 July 2015. Liam announced a solo deal with Capitol Records UK on 21 July 2016 and Republic Records on 17 October 2016. Niall also announced a solo record deal with Capitol Records on 29 September 2016. Liam and Niall did not exit One Direction.  

On January 11 2017, the Daily Mail reported Simon Cowell sold 50% of Syco Music to Sony in July 2015, bringing their total ownership up to 75%, while reducing his to 20%[5].  


Current Artists

Former Artists

Relationship With One Direction

During The X Factor (UK)'s seventh season (2010), One Direction was formed after creator and judge Simon Cowell felt there were not enough groups to proceed through from bootcamp to the judge's houses round. He and two more judges - Pussycat Dolls' singer Nicole Scherzinger and music manager Louis Walsh - chose ten previously eliminated male and female solo artists to return, and allowed them to continue competing, on the basis that they continue as groups. After One Direction's live judges house performance of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn", Cowell told the band: "My head says no, but my heart says yes. I'm going with my heart, you're through".  

Despite being the favorites to win, One Direction ultimately placed third in the seventh season's grand finale. Cowell told the audience there were "good things ahead for these boys" and Zayn confirmed the group would be staying together, stating "You haven't seen the last of One Direction". On December 13 2010, One Direction signed a £1m dollar record deal with Syco Music[6].

In September 2013, tabloid The Mirror reported One Direction renewed their contract with Syco Music until the end of 2015, with each member of the band earning £10m. A spokesperson stated "Simon Cowell and One Direction are delighted to confirm they have agreed to continue their hugely successful relationship with a new long-term agreement with Syco. Simon and the band look forward to many years of continued success together.”[7]

As of 2017, all members of One Direction have made significant transitional business moves away from Syco Music since the group began an indefinite hiatus in December 2015. Harry parted ways with Modest Management and signed with Jeff Azoff's CAA (which eventually evolved into Full Stop Management). Zayn exited One Direction permanently in March 2015, and Cowell transitioned him from Syco Music to RCA Records in July 2015. Louis parted ways with Modest Management and became a client of management company James Grant Group on June 1, 2016.

On July 21 2016, Liam announced he had signed with Capitol Records and would be releasing his debut solo album in 2017. He is now a client of Murray Chalmers PR and Doyen Global management. On September 29 2016, Niall released his first solo single, This Town, and simultaneously announced he had also signed with Capitol Records. Niall is still associated with Modest Management via a new golfing company, Modest!Golf, which he is a director of.

On December 10 2016, Louis released his debut solo single, Just Hold On. While the single was distributed through Ultra Music, it was also cross-promoted by Syco Music, indicating a continued working relationship between Tomlinson and Syco. On 7 June 2017, The Sun confirmed Louis would be staying with Syco Music, and had signed with RCA Records as his US label. He stated: "I’m very happy to have signed. I’m excited to be continuing my relationship with Syco, and also working with the brilliant team at RCA in the US. I’ve been working really hard in the studio and can’t wait to show you what I’ve been writing. As always, I’d like to thank the fans for their unbelievable support.”[8]

In May 2017, Harry Styles released his debut solo album through his label Erskine Records, via licensing to Columbia Records. Columbia was One Direction's US label from 2012 onward.

External Links


  1. Leona Lewis: the singer on her traumatic split from Simon Cowell's label
  2. Will Young describes the painful process of speaking to Simon Cowell as being like conversing with an anti-gay Catholic
  3. Alex and Sierra open up about being dropped by Syco
  4. 'Simon Cowell's like a Mafia boss - fall out of favour and you're doomed,' warns first X Factor winner Steve Brookstein 
  5. Simon Cowell rakes in £86m after selling a slice of his Syco music empire to Sony... and his friend Sir Shifty cashes in too 
  6. One Direction Signs With Simon Cowell
  7. One Direction confirms deal with Syco
  8. Louis Tomlinson stays with Syco

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