The industry is bracing itself for a new Ed Sheeran album this week.
Released on Friday (July 12), the No.6 Collaborations Project (Asylum/Atlantic) is not the official follow-up in his sequence of albums including +, × and ÷, which remains one of the big sellers of 2019. But its collaborations are already dominating the singles chart.
Retailers are already gearing up for the release. HMV head of music, John Hirst, is expecting a strong week one performance despite a lack of promotion from Sheeran.
“We are still expecting it to do big numbers,” Hirst told Music Week. “It’s not going to do 600,000 but it’s going to comfortably do six figures. It’s the biggest album of the year so far.”
Hirst predicted a total market week one sale for No.6 Collaborations possibly in excess of 200,000. The all-conquering ÷ opened with 671,541 copies in March 2017 – the third biggest opening of all time.
“It’s definitely going to be more digital-heavy [than ÷],” said Hirst. “That doesn’t necessarily make for a massive week one, but it’s got three tracks in the Top 10 at the moment. Those tracks are already streaming extremely well.”
Hirst also anticipated a strong vinyl sale for the new album.
“It’s no coincidence that vinyl has come back so strongly in the streaming world, because I think anyone who wants a physical product, they’re favouring the more tangible, bigger item than the CD,” he said.
Sheeran will be playing major outdoor shows in the UK next month.
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