Simon Cowell reveals ‘one regret’ about his time managing One Direction

Simon Cowell has opened up about the one regret he has about his time managing One Direction.

The music mogul and The X Factor creator appeared on the latest episode of Stephen Bartlett’s The Diary of a CEO podcast, where he discussed a broad range of topics including breaking his back, the grief of losing his parents, and earning spending money as a child.

Cowell, 64, also reflected on some of his career successes, including the formation of One Direction on The X Factor in 2010.

The band, made of Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and previously Zayn Malik, achieved international success in the proceeding years. They became the first boy band in US chart history to record two No 1 albums in the same calendar year.

Despite being proud of One Direction’s many achievements, Cowell admitted that he regrets not owning the band’s name as it would’ve permitted him to pursue other projects under the moniker.

“The one thing I regret is, I should have kept the name,” he told Bartlett.

“Who owns the name?” Bartlett asked. “They do,” replied Cowell. “That’s the problem. Could have made an animation, or whatever, but when you give an artist the name, it’s not yours – and that’s my only regret.”

Directing his attention to the band, Cowell joked: “If you’re listening, I’ll buy it back from you.”

Simon Cowell on Diary of a CEO podcast (Diary of a CEO)
Simon Cowell on Diary of a CEO podcast (Diary of a CEO)

The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent judge went on to explain that the band members having joint ownership of the group’s title means that they all have a say on how the name is used.

“If one of the band members, for whatever reason, says they don’t want to tour, it can stop the others touring. If it was me who owned the name, it wouldn’t be a problem,” he said.

“I can be very naive at times, and that was me being very, very naive. So next time, that will be part of the deal – I have to own the name.”

Elsewhere on the podcast, Cowell recalled the early advice that he gave the young band when they were starting out.

One Direction in 2010 (Getty Images)
One Direction in 2010 (Getty Images)

“When I was talking to One Direction, I remember saying to them: our goal is for you to have enough hits that if you ever reform, you can do stadium tours,” he said. “That means you’ve got to have about 10 hit singles. Because that’s what people want to hear; people want to hear the hits.”

Bartlett asked whether he thought the group would ever reunite, following their decision to go on an indefinite hiatus in January 2016. Cowell replied: “I doubt it.”

Cowell will launch his search to discover Britain’s next boy band later this year, in the hope of recreating the magic and success of One Direction.

Elsewhere during the podcast episode, released on Monday (10 June), he spoke of his love of music groups and decried their absence in today’s pop landscape.

“If you think of Motown, and that whole era, there were as many bands as there were solo artists,” Cowell explained.

“So something has gone amiss. And the only way I know to put a band together is that somebody has to audition them. So I just thought, ‘You know what, if I don’t do it this year, I’m going to really regret it, so let’s just do it. And we’re going to document the whole process.’

“This time, you’re going to see exactly what happens.”