Ed Sheeran’s new album, ‘Divide’, is dominating the UK album and singles charts with massive physical sales but also big numbers for streaming.
All of Divide’s 16 tracks are featured in the Official Top 20 of the singles chart. The entire top 10 (except, randomly, number 7) are from the album.
All three of Sheeran’s albums feature in the Top 5 of the album chart.
“Wow, what a phenomenal week,” Ed told Official Charts when confronted with the news.
“To every person who’s bought the album – thank you,” he added.
The album, ‘Divide’ shifted a staggering 672,000copies in its first week to bow at the summit of the survey, has clocked up another 158,000 sales across all formats at the midweek stage, according to the Official Charts Company.
Fastest selling vinyl album for 20 years
It’s not just steaming and CDs where Ed Sheeran dominates. The Vinyl Factory reported that Divide is the fastest selling vinyl album for 20 years. According to data shared by the Official Charts Company, Sheeran shifted 672,000 physical copies in the first week, 13,500 of which were vinyl.
In doing so, the record overtook first week sales figures from the likes of David Bowie (who sold more than any other artist in the 12 months to April 2016) and vinyl chart regulars Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys and Noel Gallagher.
This is despite a fairly mixed critical reception:
“Ed Sheeran sells trite innocence by the pound. He uses bland wisdom and unimaginative music to ponder the basic good and bad in people around him, without once looking inward.” Laura Snapes – Pitchfork
“Ed Sheeran: ÷ review – every bloke charm fails to mask Divide’s calculating soul “ Harriet Gibsone – The Guardian
However his fans are ignoring the inevitable backlash and are loyally buying the record and booking tickets to see him on tour.
How streaming has changed the chart
In 2014, the Official Charts Company (OCC) finally acknowledged the importance of streaming, including it in its rankings for the first time.
Back then, it had a conversion rate of 100 streams equalling one sale or download.
This, they thought, would fairly represent the success of a track, balancing consumption (number of times a song is streamed) with purchase (number of times a song is sold).
But it still valued repetition, leaving many wondering if this could become a barrier to new artist trying to break in.by