'It's been gobsmacking': Ed Sheeran's agent Jon Ollier on the ÷ world tour

'It's been gobsmacking': Ed Sheeran's agent Jon Ollier on the ÷ world tour

After a phenomenal year, Ed Sheeran has an even bigger 2018 lined up with stadium shows across the globe.

The superstar singer visits Australia and New Zealand in March, and the Philippines and Japan in April, with the UK and Ireland leg lined up for May and June. 

Here, his agent Jon Ollier, of CAA, gives Music Week an insight into Sheeran's return to the road - and hints at what the future may bring. 

How was 2017 for Ed?

"Incredible. The tour was a success, we broke some records at The O2 Arena, we put the stadium tour on sale, we sold 3m tickets outside of North America for [2018]... it's just been gobsmacking really."

Why did you choose to go back to arenas for the first leg of the ÷ tour?

"We know we could've come back and gone straight into stadiums, but then where do you go after that? The other thing with stadiums is that you only have a small window of summer in Europe that you can actually do the outdoor shows, so we just felt by doing the arenas first and keeping the heat in the ticket, that Glastonbury headline slot would be the first thing to catapult us forward into the following year. And it worked, obviously."

What did you think to his Glastonbury performance?

"It was breathtaking to see him up there on that stage. It was one of the proudest moments of my career. In hindsight it was a great plan on paper to put the stadiums on sale the following week, but the practicality of that - when you get to Glastonbury and all of the record label have disappeared for the week and all the rest of it -made it quite hectic. But it was certainly a moment."

How has Ed developed as a performer?

"He just gets more and more profoundly confident. This tour there's been a slight change in his instrumentation - he has a piano player come up for one song."

For Ed's stadium tour, 90% of tickets were delivered to fans at face value. How pleased have you been with the anti-touting measures put in place?

"We managed to get three of the big four resellers not to list on their sites and we've put a big dent in some of the practices of the fourth one [Viagogo failed to comply with the promoters’ requests]. We've done a lot of work behind the scenes, some of it not quite so behind the scenes, in trying to effect change and get some regulation of that particular area of business, and there's been some news over the past couple of weeks that shows that people are starting to listen now and take steps. So not only has it been effective for our own cause and our own business, it's also been effective in trying to help the industry move forward as a whole."

And he may also tour in 2019?

"Yeah, potentially. We're looking at it. We've just had this unfortunate situation where he injured himself and we had to cancel nine shows across Asia. Some of them we've been able to reposition for 2018, but we're desperate to get back to some of the ones that we weren't able to reschedule so it look as though there might at least be a bit of Asia in 2019. Then the plan is to hopefully get back out into some markets that we've not been able to get to."

What he can go on to achieve in the longer term?

"You'd have to consider his ambitions because it literally will go wherever he wants it to. The duet with Beyoncé and then Eminem releasing [an album] with an Ed Sheeran feature on it give you some signs of where he wants to go."

Sheeran was recently named Music Week's Artist Of The Year for 2017. Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis reflects on Sheeran's "amazing" headline performance at last year's festival here. Sheeran, Stuart Camp, Ben Cook and Guy Moot give the definitive inside story of ÷ here

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