After surging towards 500,000 sales at Monday’s Midweek, then gunning for double platinum status on Wednesday, Ed Sheeran’s ÷ has posted a first week sales total of 671,542, according to the Official Charts Company.
That figure comprises 418,897 physical sales and 173,701 downloads and 78,944 streaming 'sales', putting the singer in third place in the list of the UK’s fastest-selling albums of all time. Adele’s 25 achieved 803,000 week one sales in 2015, Oasis’ Be Here Now notched 696,000 in 1997. The Be Here Now figure is based on just three days’ sales as it was unusually released on a Thursday – 813,000 copies were sold in its first seven days. Sheeran also becomes the fastest-selling male artist of all time, easily eclipsing Robbie Williams’s Intensive Care (373, 832 sales). ÷ has also achieved the highest ever week one sale for an album released in Q1.
The sales breakdown for ÷ is as follows: physical,62%, downloads 26% and streaming equivalent sales 12%. The streaming figure constitutes the highest first-week streaming sales for an album ever, overtaking the record set by Stormzy’s Gang Signs & Prayer last week.
Sheeran has also scored the biggest one-week vinyl album sale in more than 20 years – amassing more sales on wax this week than any vinyl record of the last two decades has managed by traditional vinyl stars such as Bowie, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead and Noel Gallagher.
Sheeran’s third album is joined in the Top 5 by his previous two, with X charting at No.4 (24,054 sales) and + at No.5 (17,898 sales). The surge pushes X, released in 2014, ever closer towards 3 million sales.
÷’s dominance in the albums chart is matched in the singles list, with six of its tracks in the Top 6 spots, and the other 13 all in the top 19 positions. Shape Of You, which went to No.1 upon its release in January, is in top spot, shifting 140,647 copies. It has now sold 1,450,923 copies in total.
Behind it, Galway Girl is at No.2, Castle On The Hill is at No.3, Perfect sits fourth and New Man completes the Top 5. Happier is at No.6, Dive is at No.8, Supermarket Flowers is at No.9 and What Do I Know is in tenth spot. How Would You Feel (Paean) occupies the No.11 spot, Barcelona is in 12th and Nancy Mulligan in 13th. Eraser is at No.14, Hearts Don’t Break Around Here at 15, Bibia Be Ye Ye at 18 and Save Myself at 19.
The three tracks to break Sheeran’s monopoly are The Chainsmokers & Coldplay’s Something Just Like This (No.7), Rag’N’Bone Man’s Human (No.16) and Katy Perry’s Chained To The Rhythm (No.17).
÷ has been smashing records across Spotify too, achieving the best first week of global streams for an album in a little over four days. The previous record was held by The Weeknd, whose Starboy got 223m streams in 7 days last November. Sheeran's album notched 218m streams in just 4 days, then broke The Weeknd's total in the early hours of Tuesday (March 7). By the end of Tuesday, the album's fifth day of release, it had been streamed over 273m times. It has now reached 375m. Shape Of You is global No.1 on the platform, with Galway Girl at No.2. All 16 tracks are in the global Top 50 while all 16 make up the Top 16 on Spotify UK.
÷ has also broken week one Spotify records in the UK, notching almost 74 million streams and beating the previous record held by Justin Bieber’s Purpose which recorded 20.5m UK streams in November 2015.
The album is at No.1 on iTunes in 97 countries, and has been named as No.1 in the official charts in Norway and Sweden, where it has also achieved the highest week one album streams in history.
Sheeran commented: “Wow! What a phenomenal week. To every person who’s bought the album - thank you. I’m buzzing!”
Ben Cook, president, Atlantic Records UK said: “Ed is truly one of a kind and ÷ is an incredible musical statement that only he could make; it’s passionate and contemporary, whilst being distinct and timeless. In the six years since we signed him nothing with Ed has been accidental – he’s constantly raised the bar, challenging us to match his drive and musical output at every step: ÷ is no different. It’s his best record to date and together we’ve innovated to create this historic, cultural moment. Ed has proven himself to be a rare modern day artist whose career continues to grow stratospherically and his music will resonate across generations for years to come. What a lad!”
Get the full story and reaction to Sheeran's success in the new edition of Music Week, out on Monday.