Harry Styles' debut solo single looks certain to end Ed Sheeran's 13-week run at No.1, with Sign Of The Times currently outselling its nearest challenger by more than 2:1.
Columbia-signed Styles led the way in Monday's midweek chart after clocking up 29,695 sales (excluding Spotify data), according to the Official Charts Company.
Since Sign Of The Times debuted on Friday morning, when the 1D star appeared on Nick Grimshaw's BBC Radio 1 to drop the track, it has already notched up an impressive 12,092,265 views on YouTube at time of writing. And it's also taken the UK and US iTunes chart by storm, flying in at No.1 on both sides of the Atlantic. Indeed, on UK soil it took a mere 19 minutes for the song top the pile.
And there are alredy measures in place to ensure momentum around the release continues, should Styles finish atop the official singles chart come Friday. On Saturday (April 15) he'll be performing the song live on US TV show Saturday Night Live, along with another brand new song. He will then give Sign Of The Times its debut live airing in the UK on the Graham Norton Show the following Friday.
Once those Spotify streams are added to the mix, Styles could also find himself ahead of his fellow 1D bandmates when comparing their debut single releases. Last year saw Zayn’s debut single Pillowtalk debut at No.1 on sales of 112,497. Niall Horan, meanwhile, clocked first week sales of 37,358 to peak at No.9 with his debut solo single This Town.
Louis Tomlinson then launched his debut solo single Just Hold On last December, which registered sales of 47,626 in its first week to reach No.2.
Wherever Styles ranks alongside Zayn, Horan and Tomlinson, it looks certain that Styles will ensure the UK's stellar start to 2017 continues. Since the turn of the year, the top spot on the official singles and albums charts has been occupied almost exclusively by UK artists. On the singles chart, the year began with Clean Bandit's Rockabye at No.1 before Sheeran began his 13-week run, while, with the excpetion of one week in which the soundtrack to hit film La La Land lead the back, the albums chart has also been dominated by Brits. Little Mix's Glory Days, Pete Tong's Classic House compilation, The xx's I See You, Elbow's Little Fictions, Rag'N'Bone Man's Human, Stormzy's Gang Signs & Prayer and Sheeran's Divide have all sat at the top of the chart since the turn of the year, and one wouldn't bet against Styles' debut album arriving at No.1 when it drops later this year.
According to the Offical Charts Midweek Sales Flash, Sheeran's Galway Girl is currently at No.2 having sold 14,171 units so far this week, while his long-running chart-topper Shape Of You dips to No.4 on 12,790. Symphony by Clean Bandit Ft. Zara Larsson is a non-mover at No.3.