Ed Sheeran’s ÷ was the runaway bestseller of the year in the UK and it has emerged as the most popular album of 2017 in the US too.
According to Nielsen Music, Sheeran’s record secured 2.764 million equivalent album units during the year, of which 1.1m were traditional sales. That is strikingly similar to the UK tally for the Atlantic release: the Official Charts Company currently has ÷ on 2.7m sales, though a larger proportion of that was physical (1.68m) in addition to substantial streaming numbers.
Despite Sheeran’s stellar stateside success, the album has been snubbed in the main Grammy categories this month.
Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. was second in Nielsen’s rundown (2.747m), followed by Taylor Swift’s Reputation (2.336m). However, Swift was the winner based on sales with a massive 1.903m copies moved thanks to her streaming blackout in the first few weeks.
In 2016, Drake’s Views was the top US album of the year but the Canadian rapper has to make do with fourth place this time with More Life.
Nielsen Music reported that total music consumption was up by 12.5% to 636.65m. It follows the UK figures from the BPI showing a 9.5% increase in AES and retail market figures from ERA.
Across all formats (including CD, digital albums, vinyl and cassettes), album sales fell 17.7% to 169.15m in the US last year.