A week after releasing a pair of new singles, Ed Sheeran has become the first artist to enter the singles chart at No.1 and No.2 simultaneously.
After outselling the rest of the UK singles chart Top 20 combined, Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill, from new album ÷ (released March 3), debuted at No.1 and No.2 respectively.
Shape Of You has notched up 271,541 sales (134,198 from streams), while Castle On The Hill has amassed 230,659 (110,744 from streams). This constitutes the biggest opening week for any artist since Adele’s return with Hello in November 2015. That track debuted at No.1 with 332,000 combined sales.
Sheeran’s two new tracks have broken the one-week streaming record previously held by Drake’s One Dance (8.9 million streams). Shape Of You hit 13,419,766 streams and Castle On The Hill received 11,074,351. They are also the first tracks to receive in excess of 10m streams in a week.
In the UK airplay chart, Castle On The Hill won the battle between Sheeran’s new singles, ending the week at No.1 with 4,323 plays across 234 stations achieving an audience of 85.53m. Shape Of You debuted at No.5, with 3,942 plays on 206 stations attracting 69.51m listeners.
Castle On The Hill is the first track to debut in top spot since Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling! which generated 4,060 plays and a 64.87m audience via 4,060 plays last May.
The tracks made a huge impact on the market shares too, resulting in a Top 75 singles share of 39.01% for Atlantic. The second biggest share for an individual label was Island’s 11.05%.
Meanwhile, on Spotify, the songs surpassed a number of records.
Shape Of You has broken the record for best first week and best week for a track. Its tally of 52,359,013 beats the previous best set by Adele’s Hello in the former category (46,908,870) in October 2015.
The previous record for best week was achieved by Drake’s One Dance (48,149,958) in May 2016. Shape Of You also surpassed Hello in achieving the highest number of UK streams in its first week, clocking 9,541,156, considerably higher than Adele’s 5,411,353.
Both tracks broke the record for first day streams, with 6,868,642 for Shape Of You and 6,168,395 for Castle On The Hill. Sheeran overtook previous holders One Direction, who reached 4,759,698 with Drag Me Down in August 2015.
Shape Of You is currently No.1 in 39 Spotify markets, and both songs are Nos 1 and 2 in 27 markets, including globally. The two singles achieved a combined first week total of more than 88m Spotify streams.
The songs also received the most amount of streams in a day ever to be recorded on Apple Music.
On YouTube, the official lyric videos have so far racked up 65,548,001 views combined. Between them, the tracks have more than 137m streams across Apple, Spotify, YouTube and Deezer.
The songs were released following a drip-fed teaser campaign via Sheeran’s Twitter feed. In the current edition of Music Week, Sheeran’s manager, Stuart Camp, of Rocket Music, said of the tracks: “We decided to sell two sides of the story. We want to superserve the album and get excitement built up early, so we thought, Bugger it, let’s just do both.”
Read the full Q&A here.
Sheeran’s last album, 2014’s X sold 2,901,863 copies, according to the Official Charts Company, while 2011 debut, +, sold 2,128,387. He is one of the biggest-selling artists of the 21st century, having sold 17,504,513 singles and 5,242,048 albums to date (including streams).