Ed Sheeran – officially the world’s biggest-selling artist – launches his UK stadium tour at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium tonight (May 24). More than a year after its release, ÷ remains in the Top 10 this week.
Sheeran has been working on new material during his record-breaking Australian tour, as well as enjoying a co-writing hit with fellow Atlantic artist Anne-Marie on 2002.
Here, Music Week catches up with Grumpy Old Management GM Gaby Cawthorne to talk stadium plans, the continuing album campaign and plans for Sheeran’s fourth record…
What do you want to achieve with Ed Sheeran for the rest of this album campaign and beyond?
"Well, for this album we have quite a lot of touring plans for quite a while. Ed is always thinking ahead, he’s always thinking about future album campaigns, operating in the new marketplace and how he wants to push himself musically. We do have to have foresight in terms of what he actually wants to achieve, so we can be talking now about what he might be planning to do in three years’ time. It’s good that he’s in a place where he wants to have a bigger picture view on how he wants to continue to have success."
Do you think he’ll stick to that three-year album cycle in his career?
"To a certain degree, yes. I think, ultimately, with Ed, he is a wonderfully creative machine - he can’t help himself writing new material and coming up with new ideas. He’s a wonderfully creative young man – but you do need time, so there is scope for it to stay to [the timeframe] we are planning."
Ed is always thinking ahead, he’s always thinking about future album campaigns, operating in the new marketplace and how he wants to push himself musically
What are the global ambitions for more stadium shows?
"I know that there are ambitions to level out the playing field and make stadiums sell out as broadly as possible on a global level. The US tour takes him right through to November so there’s not much more we can squeeze in really [this year], but the plans are definitely coming together."
Are you expecting the album to still be in the Top 10 at the end of this year?
"I would like to say, yes! I’d say maybe not on a fully global level, as we did for last Christmas. But we have plenty of mileage in various markets around the world. So I do anticipate we will still see ÷ very present as a campaign in many markets around the world."
Are you hoping to top ÷ next time?
"To try and surpass that, absolutely, we are all ambitious characters. But, by the same token, to be able to maintain that level of success in the future would be just as healthy. By the time he does release another record, the physical market will probably be completely gone in some places around the world, so we have to re-measure expectations to what we are trying to achieve. He’s a man who does have a very healthy future ahead of him, and we want to help him deliver the best career that he can have. I don’t think we’re coming to the end of that success, it’s just something that we want to manage and maintain."