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Streaming has turned the UK chart into a joke, and Ed Sheeran's 16 'hit singles' prove it

Ed Sheeran at the 2017 Brit Awards
Ed Sheeran at the 2017 Brit Awards Credit: AP

The pop charts are broken. As a measure of the nation’s musical fads and obsessions, the UK singles Top 40 is redundant, defective, malfunctioning, outmoded, no longer fit for the purpose. It is about as hip, hot, and on trend Monty Python’s parrot.

Ed Sheeran currently occupies nine spots in the top 10. He has an astonishing, all time record breaking 16 hits in the Top 20. Sixteen! That must have made for the most boring chart countdown in radio history. “At number 10 … Ed Sheeran. At number nine… it’s that man again, Ed Sheeran.

At number eight … your friend and mine, Ed Sheeran. In at number seven …” (And so on, until the announcer falls asleep at his microphone or listeners switch over to the Shipping Forecast in search of greater novelty and excitement.)

Is Britain in the grip of Sheeranmania? Are the nation’s youth all sporting carrot top wigs and fake geeky glasses? Have sales of acoustic...

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