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Ed Sheeran released an album and now the charts are broken

By | Published on Monday 13 March 2017

Ed Sheeran

Right, I think we all know by now that Ed Sheeran’s ‘÷‘ album has done quite well, but let’s get some closure on this whole thing by looking at the numbers at the end of its first week on sale.

The album is the fastest selling album by a male artist of all time in the UK (and the third fastest selling overall, after Adele’s ’25’ and Oasis’ ‘Be Here Now’), closing out its first seven days on sale already double platinum, having sold 672,000 copies. That put the album comfortably in the number one position in the week-ending chart, while his previous two LPs, ‘x’ and ‘+’ are at numbers four and five in the album chart respectively.

Over in the singles chart, Sheeran makes a mockery of the whole system by having all sixteen tracks on the album in the top 20. Nine of them appear in the top ten, while Sheeran has the top five in its entirety. Which I think makes a good case for the way streaming numbers are counted in the chart being entirely wrong.

Even Ed himself agrees. “I don’t know if there’s some weird thing that Spotify and Apple Music are going to have to change now with streaming”, he said on Radio 1’s Official Chart Show. “I never expected to have nine songs in the top ten ever in my life. I don’t know if something has gone wrong, but I’m definitely very happy about it”.

OK, maybe I jumped the gun a little saying he agreed with the need for radical chart reform, but he’s at least a little confused. Not like Atlantic UK President Ben Cook, who is certain of the justifiable wonder and achievement of all of this.

“Ed is truly one of a kind and ‘÷‘ is an incredible musical statement that only he could make; it’s passionate and contemporary, whilst being distinct and timeless”, says Cook. “In the six years since we signed him nothing with Ed has been accidental – he’s constantly raised the bar, challenging us to match his drive and musical output at every step: ‘÷‘ is no different”.

“It’s his best record to date, and together we’ve innovated to create this historic, cultural moment”, the Atlantic man continues. “Ed has proven himself to be a rare modern day artist whose career continues to grow stratospherically and his music will resonate across generations for years to come. What a lad!”

Yeah, total lad. And it’s not just our charts he knackered. Over in Australia, Sheeran also has all sixteen tracks from the album in the top 40 of the ARIA Singles Chart. Only five of them in the top ten though. He does have three spots in the Aussie albums top five though – the other two taken up by Adele.

Anyway, if you like simpler, good old-fashioned counting, without complicated equations to try to make one thing like another, I have some good news for you. ‘÷‘ is also the fastest selling vinyl album for 20 years. Of the 419,000 physical copies of the album he sold, 13,500 were on vinyl. That’s a little over 3% of physical sales, or 2% of total sales. Yay, vinyl revival!

Oh, and Ed Sheeran sold a shitload of CDs last week too, so that’s also a thing.