Close to a third of Spotify’s 217m users are playing Ed Sheeran following release of his new album

Credit: Warner Music Group

On Tuesday (July 16), MBW calculated that Ed Sheeran’s new album, No.6 Collaborations Project, was doing very decent numbers on Spotify – but was falling short of breaking any records.

That last part isn’t true of Sheeran himself, however: Spotify has today (July 18) confirmed that the British singer/songwriter has set a new record for the most number of global monthly listeners on its platform.

In the wake of the release of the No.6 Collaborations Project, Sheeran has now surpassed 69.15 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and is apparently on course to top 70 million in the coming days.

That is the largest amount of monthly listeners ever seen on Spotify, bigger even than the tally managed by Drake around the release of his own record-breaking Scorpion album this time last year.

(Monthly listeners, under Spotify’s rules, indicate the number of individual global users who have played an artist’s music within a rolling 28 day period.)

The last update we had on Spotify’s total Monthly Active Users (MAUs) is for the end of March this year, at 217m – including both paid and ‘free’ users.

Sheeran’s 69.15m listeners makes up just shy of 32% of this figure, suggesting that the Atlantic-signed star’s music is currently being played by almost a third of Spotify’s total global audience.

Sheeran’s count is way out in front of the second most-popular artist on Spotify right now, Shawn Mendes, who has accumulated 55.96m monthly listeners.

Sheeran is being heavily supported by Spotify this week: the company says that music from his No.6 Collaborations album has landed in more than 800 official Spotify playlists since being released on Friday (July 12).

Spotify: Most monthly listeners as of July 17, 2019
  1. Ed Sheeran – 69.15m
  2. Shawn Mendes – 55.96m
  3. Camila Cabello – 54.99m
  4. J Balvin – 54.58m
  5. Khalid – 54.56m
  6. Justin Bieber –52.05m
  7. Billie Eilish –50.02m
  8.  Post Malone –48.54m
  9. Lil Nas X –48.37m
  10. Daddy Yankee – 46.70m

Sheeran’s No.6 Collaborations Project isn’t surpassing the streams of its predecessor, 2017’s Divide: the latter clocked an official day-one global Spotify stream count of 56m, while the former, Spotify has now confirmed – in line with MBW’s analysis – racked up 46.5m total plays in its opening 24 hours.

Yet Sheeran’s popularity on Spotify – and the platform’s strong backing of the artist across those 800-plus playlists – is in no doubt.

Witness the fact that on Tuesday (July 16), Sheeran had 19 songs in Spotify’s Top 200 global daily chart.

In addition to the 15 tracks on the No.6 Collaborations Project, Sheeran’s Shape Of You (1.08m plays, No.87), Perfect (932k plays, No.110), Photograph (727k plays, No.155) and Thinking Out Loud (643k plays, No.189) all also charted.

Those 19 tracks, according to MBW’s calculations, racked up 36.7m chart-eligible plays between them on Tuesday, which would have generated a daily payout to Sheeran and Atlantic records in the region of $158,000.

This doesn’t include plays for Sheeran’s catalog that didn’t chart in the Top 200, remember.

Sulinna Ong, UK Head of Artist & Label Services and Acting Head of Music Culture & Editorial at Spotify, said: “Ed Sheeran is an undisputed international superstar, so it’s really no surprise he and the Atlantic UK team are enjoying such success. He and his team were eager to leverage Spotify’s discovery capabilities to reach fans across our nearly 80 markets around the world and make No. 6 Collaborations Project even more of a global sensation.

“From prominent out-of-home advertising and exclusive listening parties across key markets, to a custom playlist featuring in-depth track-by-track interviews, this was a holistic campaign that was thought through at every angle.

“Further, given the collaborative and cross-genre nature of the album, the music was uniquely positioned to target an especially wide array of listeners — both fans of Ed, and the many featured artists — and music from his album landed in more than 800 official Spotify playlists, an incredible and rare feat.

“Given the collaborative and cross-genre nature of the album, the music was uniquely positioned to target an especially wide array of listeners.”

“Ed and his team deserve every bit of the credit they’ve earned, and given the very strong early indications, we’re excited to see how the album continues to resonate with listeners throughout the summer and beyond.”

Ed’s latest album is a more R&B/hip-hop-leaning record than its predecessor, on which the superstar collaborates with the likes of Justin Bieber, Stormzy, Eminem, 50 Cent, Camila Cabello, Chance The Rapper, Travis Scott, Cardi B and Khalid.

On the first day of the release, songs from No.6 Collaborations Project claimed five of the Top 10 tracks worldwide on Spotify. The biggest track from the album, the previously released ‘I Don’t Care’ (with Justin Bieber) was Spotify’s second biggest song worldwide on its release day.Music Business Worldwide

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