When Ed Sheeran's ÷ topped the iTunes listings in 92 countries within hours of release in March, it set a scorching pace that none of 2017's subsequent album releases has been able to match... until now.
But Taylor Swift's Reputation has made an even better start, and was sitting atop the rankings in 97 countries at 6pm on Friday (November 10), within hours of its release. Swift's sixth album – and her first since 1989 in 2014 – it was in such demand in America that it actually caused iTunes to crash. It will certainly be the one to beat when official international chart rankings are made available over the next couple of weeks.
It is, of course, a delicious irony that Sheeran has helped contribute to the beating of his own iTunes record – he is a friend of Swift and helped to write and perform the Reputation track End Game, which also features rapper Future.
No.1 on iTunes in 54 countries last week, Sam Smith's second album, The Thrill Of It All, duly follows through with debuts at No.1 in Flanders, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden and the UK thus far. It also opens at No.4 in Italy, No.11 in Wallonia, No.25 in South Korea, No.34 in Japan and No.8 in Germany where veteran Romanian/German singer Peter Maffay racks up a record 18th No.1 with MTV Unplugged.
No.1 in three territories last week, One Direction star Niall Horan's Flicker is toppled in all of them, with the album slipping to No.3 in his native Ireland while dipping 1-9 in Canada and 1-20 in the USA, where the new chart champ is Kenny Chesney, with concert set Live In No Shoes Nation, his eighth No.1.
Welsh band Stereophonics' Scream Above The Sounds follows last week's modest impact with more soft debuts, opening at No.43 in Switzerland, No.60 in Spain, No.99 in Australia and No.101 in France.
Meanwhile, Dua Lipa's eponymous debut is again on the rise in many countries, advancing 18-16 in Denmark, 23-19 in Finland, 33-21 in Flanders, 27-26 in the UK, 33-29 in Italy, 50-43 in Canada and 101-96 in Wallonia while re-entering at No.23 in Norway, No.31 in Australia and No.64 in Spain. Its Flanders rise take it to its highest position there since it debuted at No.6 in June, and coincides with her current single New Rules toppling Ed Sheeran's Perfect from the singles chart apex.
Perfect is, of course, also a major hit for Sheeran almost everywhere, and continues to fuel the return to growth of parent album ÷, which is No.1 in Denmark for the 30th time this week, and is also in the Top 10 in Canada (4-2), Slovakia (4-2), Australia (3-2), Norway (2-2), The UK (6-4), Ireland (4-4), Sweden (3-4), The Czech Republic (2-4), The Netherlands (7-4), Croatia (7-5), Flanders (6-5), Finland (5-7), The USA (7-8), Austria (9-9) and Italy (8-10).