We knew it would be big. But Ed Sheeran's ÷ is heading for one of the UK's biggest first week sales ever.
In an incredible first day of sales, Sheeran’s new album ÷ (Divide) sold 232,000 physical and digital copies in its first 24 hours of release, according to the Official Charts Company. And while total streaming data wasn't factored in to that figure, we also know that Sheeran smashed global Spotify records by amassing 68.7 million streams in just one day.
Released on Friday, (March 3), ÷ looks absolutely certain to romp to the No.1 spot in its first week of release, and is likely to break all manner of records along the way. The album has already sold more copies that Sheeran’s last album X managed in its first week.
The album registered best ever first day streams for an album on Spotify with 56,727,861 streams, almost doubling the record set by previous record holder, The Weeknd’s Starboy, with 29m streams in November 2016. He also delivered best one day streams for a single track, with Shape of You hitting 10,123,630 streams, breaking his own record of 7,940,950 set on January 6 2017. Combined, the total number of day one streams for Sheeran is 68,695,172, destroying former record holder The Weeknd, who picked up 40.3m streams in November 2016.
And, while an official OCC figure is yet to be confirmed, industry sources suggest that ÷ notched up day two (Saturday) total sales of well over 100,000, meaning it is on track for one of the biggest Week 1 sales ever.
Furthermore, after one day, the Apple Music Top 10 was made up entirely of tracks from ÷. Sheeran also occupies eight positions between No.11 and 20 too. You can see the rundown in full below.
Ben Cook, president, Atlantic Records UK, said: "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."
The album is now on track to score one of the biggest first week totals of recent years. The biggest total of any album in 2016 was David Bowie’s Blackstar, which sold 143,455 in one week last January.
A number of leading industry executives told Music Week their predictions for week one sales of ÷, which you can read in full here.
Meanwhile, speaking to Music Week from HMV’s flagship Oxford Street store on Friday morning, the company’s music manager John Hirst said the retailer was sufficiently prepared for what is set to be the biggest album release of 2017.
“We absolutely couldn’t run out [of stock],”he said. “The most likely scenario is the LP having a higher proportion of sales today than we expected, but we’ve got a contingency for that and we can get stock by 6am tomorrow. We’re looking at 10% of ÷ sales on LP.
“The appetite is clearly huge,” he continued. “We’ll see an awful lot of people around lunchtime, we normally reckon we’ve done about 25% of sales by midday and then we’ll do half of the day’s sales across lunchtime, that might be even more today.”
You can read our report from the shop floor here, in which we spoke to Sheeran fans and watched as the man himself turned up to pick up a copy of his own album on vinyl.
You can also read our interview with Sheeran’s manager Stuart Camp here.
Apple Music UK Top 10: