“A year without Ed Sheeran is never very happy to contemplate,” quips Atlantic UK president Ben Cook as he considers how his label will take on 2018 without a new record from its all-conquering star signing.
Sheeran, of course, is likely to still sell plenty of copies of ÷ over the next 12 months as his stadium tour wends its way around the globe.
But Atlantic’s stellar 2017 performance – it was the No.2 label on Artist Album Sales with a 7.9% share, almost double its 2016 performance – certainly wasn’t just built on its superstar singer-songwriter's incredible 12-month chart domination.
“You can be defined by one artist or you can choose for that to enable a lot of other great things – and that’s the route we took,” says Cook.
“We’ve taken that opportunity to really grow the whole label and roster and the confidence of the imprint, rather than just falling behind the one artist.
If you look at the performance of the label, it is pretty breathtaking across the board and I give all credit to the staff, who have whole-heartedly delivered not just for Ed, but everyone else.”
So the label also found huge success with the likes of Rita Ora, Anne-Marie and Clean Bandit, all of whom are set up nicely for albums this year.
Jess Glynne will also release the follow-up to her 2015 triple platinum debut I Cry When I Laugh, while there will be new records from the likes of Plan B and Rudimental and a host of exciting new artists such as Yonaka, Mahalia and Kojo Funds.
And Sheeran will still be around, of course, as ÷ heads towards 3 million UK sales…
“I’m really excited about all the new acts, who all have amazing futures,” enthuses Cook. “And the great thing is, Ed will never stop, he’s the most prolific songwriter out there.
I think 2018 is going to be a great year for Atlantic…”