Having already set streaming records with its singles, Music Week has confirmed that Ed Sheeran’s highly-anticipated new album ÷ will debut on streaming services on the day of its release. The approach notably differs from that of other high profile artists like Adele, Taylor Swift and Coldplay who initially withheld their albums from streaming platforms.
Music Week spoke to Ed Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp about whether the Sheeran team are big believers in streaming.
“Absolutely, 100%. Always,” said Camp. “We were always over-indexing on streaming, even from the first record. We became the poster boys for Spotify to a certain degree, before anyone else really latched on. In the years since the last record, it’s caught up and it’s now taken over for everybody. But we were always that act.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Atlantic Records UK general manager Mark Mitchell when Music Week asked if any thought was given to holding the album back from streaming services on its March 3 release date.
“We may have given it a second’s thought, but we truly believe we need to be available everywhere," stated Mitchell. "I don’t think it would work for us to do any exclusives of any sort with this record.”
Laura Kirkpatrick, Director, UK Artist & Label Services at Spotify also spoke to Music Week and hailed Sheeran's strength as an artist on their platform.
"Ed Sheeran is a music industry phenomenon, and nowhere is his success greater, or more apparent, than on Spotify. Upon the release of his two tracks, Shape of You and Castle on the Hill, he immediately went to No.1 in 41 countries, and globally, and held the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in 28 markets concurrently."
Continuing on that topic, Kirkpatrick offered her predictions for ÷.
“We would expect the forthcoming release of ÷ to be as much of a hit with his many millions of fans on Spotify as his first two tracks were - indeed, as much as his previous albums were," said Kirkpatrick. "The huge success of X means that it remains the third most streamed album of all time on Spotify.”
The Ed Sheeran special issue of Music Week is available now and includes our Big Interview with Stuart Camp.