Ed Sheeran is a major pop star. He’s on the cover of Rolling Stone. He’s appearing on the incredibly popular TV series Game Of Thrones. He’s even a Taylor Swift BFF! But with his latest album Divide, Sheeran has become so popular that he’s actually turned the UK music charts on their heads. Analysts think that Divide was so popular it may have thrown off results for other artists who released music the week of 3/3.
Here’s Divide by the numbers: It sold 672,000 copies in Sheeran’s native UK, 451,000 copies in the US, and 97,014 in Australia. The album is also topping charts in Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden. But according to The Guardian it’s the streaming numbers for the record that are truly staggering. In the UK, sixteen tracks off the album hit the Top 20 chart, where 150 streams are equivalent to a download.
Currently, the charts incorporate data from both paid and free streaming, which is what throws a wrench into things. Chief executive of the independent music body Worldwide Independent Network Alison Wenham told The Guardian that this kind of dominance speaks to dysfunction in stream to download ratios.