Irish pop star Kian Egan is convinced One Direction wouldn't have survived the music industry in the 1990s as their record sales would have been dwarfed by Westlife's.

The Flying Without Wings hitmaker enjoyed huge success with the boyband in the 1990s and 2000s, and he claims the group's pop successors, One Direction, would have struggled to score a hit if they had emerged on the scene 15 years ago.

He tells Britain's Daily Star newspaper, "I was told the other day that One Direction's album sold around 700,000 copies in the U.K. and was the biggest-selling album of the year. Back in the day with Westlife, that would have been fairly poor, we were selling more like 1.7 or 1.8 million. Times have changed."

One Direction's third album Midnight Memories was released in November (13) and sold 685,000 in the U.K. by the end of the year (13), making it the biggest selling record of 2013 in Britain.