Hopes are high for the commercial performance of Ed Sheeran’s third album, ÷ (Divide) – and it didn’t disappoint on its first day.
Spotify has confirmed that the LP’s tracks drew 56.73m streams worldwide yesterday (March 3) – a new record for first-day plays of an LP on the platform.
Sheeran didn’t just beat the previous record, he demolished it.
Before Divide came along, the record was held by The Weeknd’s Starboy, with 29m streams in November 2016.
And that’s not all. In total, Sheeran tracks were played 68.7m times by fans on Spotify yesterday – destroying the previous record, set once again by The Weeknd with 40.3m streams in November 2016.
Meanwhile, Sheeran also just broke his own record for plays of a single track on Spotify in 24 hours.
Shape of You was streamed 10.12m times yesterday on the platform. Its previous record-setting high came on January 6, when it clocked up 7.94m Spotify streams.
All 16 tracks from the Deluxe edition of Divide went straight into the Spotify Global Top 50 streaming chart, while Sheeran is currently the most streamed artist on Spotify, with over 45.5m monthly listeners.
“Ed is an artist that inspires a generation, and the release of Divide is a global event. It’s great to see so many people across the world respond to this brilliant new work in such an unprecedented manner.”
Ben Cook, Atlantic Records UK
And the story of Divide’s remarkable early success isn’t only told by streaming services.
According to preliminary Official Charts Company figures, the LP sold a whopping 232,000 copies in the UK yesterday (March 3) across download and physical alone.
That’s slightly behind the UK preliminary day-one sales figures of Adele’s 25 (300,000 in November 2015) – but doesn’t include Sheeran’s record-setting streaming numbers.
In fact, Divide’s one-day sales stats are bigger than any week-one (yes, week one) performance from an album release in the UK across the whole of last year.
The biggest total of any album in 2016 was David Bowie’s Blackstar, which sold 143,455 in one week last January.
Ben Cook, President, Atlantic Records UK, commented: “Ed is an artist that inspires a generation, and the release of Divide is a global event. It’s great to see so many people across the world respond to this brilliant new work in such an unprecedented manner.
“As the way we release music changes, Ed continues to shape culture and how it evolves. It’s early days, but we’re really excited to see what we can achieve alongside Ed and his management on what is an outstanding landmark record.”
We’re still awaiting data from the US, but Billboard predicts that Divide will sell somewhere between 350,000 to 425,000 units in week one.
Music Business Worldwide