Monday 26 June 2017

Sheeran 'buzzing' as record-breaking Divide dominates album and singles charts

Ed Sheeran celebrates topping the singles charts with Shape Of You (Official Charts Company/PA)
Ed Sheeran celebrates topping the singles charts with Shape Of You (Official Charts Company/PA)

Ed Sheeran's ÷ (Divide) has become the fastest-selling album by a male artist in the UK ever.

The singer's third record, released last Friday, shot to the top of the charts with a staggering 672,000 sales and streams in its opening week - more than the rest of the Official Charts Company's top 500 albums combined.

Sheeran also broke records in the singles charts, with nine of Divide's songs inside the top 10 while the remainder of the album's tracks lie within the top 20.

The chart is led by Sheeran's Shape Of You for the ninth straight week, ahead of Galway Girl, Castle On The Hill, Perfect and New Man - the first time an artist has ever held the top five spots.

Upon hearing the news, the singer-songwriter told the Official Charts Company he was "buzzing".

Speaking to Radio 1's Greg James, he said: "I never expected to have nine songs in the top 10 ever in my life so yeah, I don't know, something's gone wrong.

"But I'm definitely very, very happy about it."

Divide's total sales mean it has already surpassed the double-platinum mark and it has also achieved the biggest one-week vinyl album sales in more than 20 years.

The only albums to have sold more in their first seven days in chart history are Adele's 25 and Oasis's Be Here Now, which shifted 800,000 and 696,000 copies respectively.

The album's success was largely driven by physical sales at 62%, with downloads at 26% and streaming equivalent sales at 12% - the highest first-week streaming sales for an album ever.

Sheeran's triumphant return has also renewed interest in his other two records, with X (Multiply) in fourth in the album charts and + (Plus) up to fifth, behind Stormzy's Gang Signs & Prayer, which drops to third, and Rag'n'Bone Man's Human in second.

Ben Cook, president of Atlantic Records UK, called Sheeran "one of a kind", adding that the album was " an incredible musical statement".

"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."

"What a lad," he added.

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