Ed Sheeran's manager Stuart Camp has given the lowdown the superstar's two-album campaign in a new interview with Music Week.
Speaking in our latest print edition, the Grumpy Old Management MD sheds light on what's next for the all-conquering singer-songwriter.
Sheeran, whose 15-week reign at the singles peak could be ended by Elton John & Dua Lipa today, releases latest LP = via Asylum/Atlantic on October 29, and Camp explained the 30-year-old has already begun plotting its follow-up.
“He doesn't like sitting on songs," Camp told Music Week. "They've either got to be given to someone else or they've got to be released, otherwise it just gets on his nerves that they're there. And making this record was such a long process; there are probably 60 or 70 songs that are good enough to be on an album, but aren't currently."
There are a few more surprises coming from Ed later this year on top of the album
Stuart Camp, Grumpy Old Management
Sheeran will kick of the first leg of his + - = ÷ x Tour (The Mathematics Tour) in April next year, playing stadium shows across the UK, Ireland, Central Europe and Scandinavia - including five nights at Wembley Stadium - and that's just for starters.
"We will be in North America next year, Australia, God willing, and then Asia if that opens up and then come back through Europe and probably end up somewhere home for a big event in late summer '24," said Camp.
"If the tour will go on as long as people expect it to, the next record will come well before the end of it. He keeps me telling me tentative dates that are far too soon! So I'm like, ‘Let's this one live for a bit shall we?’ But it will be before the end of '24, I can tell you that for sure.
"There are a few more surprises coming from Ed later this year on top of the album, so I think we'll get this year out of the way and then we'll look at when the next one will come.”
The Mathematics Tour has a long way to go to match the blockbuster performance of the 2017-19 ÷ global trek, which broke records for both gross revenue ($776.2 million) and overall attendance (8,787m), previously held by U2's 360.
“We always want to play to as many people as want to see us live, and that's what we'll stick to," said Camp. "Obviously the world is a different place and travel restrictions may still be enforcing in many of these territories, but we're going to go out there and do the best we can.”
Released in 2017, Sheeran's third LP ÷ is certified 12x platinum in the UK with sales of 3,772,489, according to the Official Charts Company, but Camp said the team would not consider = a failure if it ultimately falls short of that figure.
“We know the market's a different place, there are a lot more demands on people's time and music is consumed in a different way," he said. "We always compare ourselves to ourselves from four years ago, but I think you then have to compare yourself to everyone else and what the sales are at the moment, so I think it as long as he's No.1, he'll be happy.”