Divide and conquer: Ed Sheeran smashes UK chart records with new album and dominates singles rankings

Ed Sheeran celebrates topping the singles charts with Shape Of You
Ed Sheeran celebrates topping the singles charts with Shape Of You Credit: PA

Ed Sheeran's new album "÷" became the fastest selling by a solo male artist in British chart history on Friday, with hits from the record also dominating the singles chart.

"÷", pronounced "divide", sold 672,000 in its first week, making it the third highest seller of all time behind Adele's "25" and Oasis's "Be Here Now".

The third studio album by Sheeran, 26, has already achieved "double platinum" status, the Official Charts Company said, and sold more copies than the rest of the top 500 records combined.  

Lead single "Shape Of You", initially released in January, was the top selling single, achieving 141,000 combined chart sales. The entire top 5 is composed of other songs by Sheeran, and all 16 songs from the album appear in the top 20.

"Wow! What a phenomenal week. I'm buzzing," Sheeran said.

Speaking to Radio 1's Greg James, he said: "I never expected to have nine songs in the top 10 ever in my life so yeah, I don't know, something's gone wrong.

"But I'm definitely very, very happy about it."

The Official Charts Company said the feat was something that no artist had come close to achieving before.

The album achieved success across all formats. It broke the record for highest first-week streaming sales, set by grime rapper Stormzy just last week, and even achieved the biggest one-week vinyl sales in over 20 years. 

The album's success was largely driven by physical sales at 62%, with downloads at 26% and streaming equivalent sales at 12% - the highest first-week streaming sales for an album ever.

Sheeran's triumphant return has also renewed interest in his other two records, with X (Multiply) in fourth in the album charts and + (Plus) up to fifth, behind Stormzy's Gang Signs & Prayer, which drops to third, and Rag'n'Bone Man's Human in second.

Ed Sheeran buys his new album from HMV Oxford Street Ed Sheeran buys his new album from HMV Oxford Street
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Ben Cook, president of Atlantic Records UK, called Sheeran "one of a kind", adding that the album was "an incredible musical statement".

"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: C:: is no different."

"What a lad," he added.