Simon Cowell: The 2014 Billboard Power 100
NO. 58

Simon Cowell

Co-owner, Syco Entertainment

Guided Alex & Sierra to victory on the third season of the U.S. “X Factor”

Simon Cowell’s recent visibility in the United States has sat squarely with “The X Factor”—the label head’s reality singing competition that airs on Fox and has yet to command the audience he once predicted. Out of public view, though, his Syco Entertainment had a significant year thanks to One Direction.

Syco produced the concert-biography film “One Direction: This Is Us,” grossing $28.9 million stateside, according to Box Office Mojo. The band of U.K. “X Factor” contestants had their third consecutive No. 1 debut on the Billboard Top 200 last year with "Midnight Memories," which has sold 1.2 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

His empire continues to expand in the United Kingdom with scripted films and a stage production in addition to his “X Factor” and “Got Talent” franchises that air in more than 70 countries. In March, Syco joined with YouTube to launch the You Generation channel, described as “the world’s first global audition,” which is available in 26 countries.

With Columbia Records, Syco hopes to break recent U.K. “X Factor” winner Matt Cardle in both the United Kingdom and the States. The test for the U.S. version of the show, which has yet to be picked up for a fourth season, will be whether season three winners Alex & Sierra can spur sales when they release their debut album.

“The most important thing is that I believe in the ‘X Factor’ brand,” Cowell told Billboard prior to last season’s finale, “what it stands for and what it has done for artists’ careers.”