After being formed and finishing third in the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010, One Direction were signed by Simon Cowell to a £2 million Syco Records record contract. Recording for their debut album began in January 2011, as they flew to Los Angeles to work with Moroccan-Swedish producer RedOne. In February 2011, One Direction and nine other contestants from the series participated in the X Factor Live Tour. After the tour concluded in April 2011, the group continued working on their debut album. Recording took place in Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom, as One Direction worked with producers Carl Falk, Savan Kotecha, Steve Mac, RedOne, Toby Gad and Rami Yacoub, among others. The album also features songs written by Ed Sheeran, Kelly Clarkson, and Tom Fletcher. In May 2011, Kotecha spoke to Digital Spy, and he elaborated that One Direction were "experimenting" with sounds on their debut album. 
The album topped the charts in sixteen countries. Up All Night became the third best selling album of 2012 globally, selling 4.5 million units. It entered the UK Albums Chart at number two on 27 November 2011, selling 138,631 copies, becoming the UK's fastest-selling debut album of 2011 and also the fastest selling album of 2011 to miss out on the top spot. The album was kept off the top spot by the first week sales of Rihanna's Talk That Talk, which sold 163,819 copies. The album became the sixteenth biggest-selling album in the UK of 2011, with 468,000 copies sold. As of 8 December 2012, the album had sold 777,000 copies in the UK. The record became the fifteenth best-selling album in the UK of 2012, with sales of 372,000 copies.