Ed Sheeran albums and songs sales

CSPC Ed Sheeran albums and songs sales
Background image: WireImage | Ollie Millington

Ed Sheeran is handily the biggest male act of the last 10 years. He’s part of an elite group of artists who appeal to pretty much every single demographic.

Coming back with – (Subtract), the 5th and final set of his massive mathematics series, will he be able to replicate his success one more time?

A few words about the artist

Is there anyone who hasn’t heard at least one Ed Sheeran song on the radio, or perhaps while scrolling through a popular playlist on Spotify?

Songs like Shape of You, Thinking Out Loud and Perfect are all instantly recognizable, they became anthems of a generation. The British songwriter debuted with a major label in 2011 and slowly climbed the ladder all the way to global stardom.

His real sales are up for debate due to the ways of accounting for sales and streams which differ in each country. We will review accurately his discography, format by format, to get a clearer picture of his results so far.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Ed Sheeran‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity.

If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)

There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. The first is the Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC method, you will get the full idea within just a few minutes.

If you are a mathematical person, and want to know the full method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.

Now let’s get into the artist’s sales figures in detail in order to apply this concept and define the act’s true popularity!

Ed Sheeran Albums Sales

CSPC Ed Sheeran album sales breakdowns

Updated Studio Album Sales & Comments

With his first three studio albums alone, Ed Sheeran sold a massive total of 22 million units. This makes for a stunning average of 7.4 million per album, which is simply extraordinary in this day and age.

At 5.5 million, Plus (+) was certainly a great start for the superstar. What’s more impressive is that this record is still doing well.

At a phenomenal 9.1 million, Multiply (x) is now over the 9 million mark. Surprisingly enough, that’s not enough to become the best-selling album released in 2014, as Taylor Swift‘s 1989 crushed the 10 million barrier.

The 2017 blockbuster Divide (÷) stands at 7.7 million. It goes without saying that it destroyed the competition in its release year since no other album managed even half of that figure.

Obviously, while No.6 Collaborations Project is technically a studio album consisting of brand new songs from the artist, it is of different nature than his previous efforts, thus making the decline of 87% seem much worse than it actually is.

Sales of Equals (=) topped the ones of its immediate predecessor, although they haven’t gone as high as the golden 2011-2017 efforts. Still, over 1.3 million is pretty good for western albums by 2021 standards.

As we speak, Subtract (-) is failing to come anywhere near the others. A first hurdle is placed at half a million units.

Ed Sheeran Songs Sales

Below, we list down results from the artist through physical sales, digital sales and streaming.

Please be aware that when the artist is regarded as the lead act, he is rewarded with 100% of these units, while featured acts share among them a 50% piece of the totals.

CSPC - Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept - Physical singles

Physical Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.

In most countries like in France and the US, Ed Sheeran had no physical single released until 2021. He issued a few records in this format in the UK and in Germany though.

The greatest success of these was The A Team which floated around the UK Top 100 physical chart for several years.

The increase of collectors generated great sales for both Bad Habits and Shivers, and now most new singles are getting limited CD releases.

Naturally, numbers are low in relative terms and bring next to nothing to the overall tally.

Download music iTunes Amazon Google Melon

Digital Songs

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1,5 ratio between one album and one digital single.

At some point everything looked so easy for Ed Sheeran that it seems he was massive from day 1.

Undoubtedly, he was off to a strong start in the UK where The A Team, his first official single, landed at #3 in June 2011. The song also reached the Top 3 in Australia and the Netherlands, but it wasn’t an A-League smash worldwide.

In the US, it entered charts more than one year later, peaking at a modest, but still promising, #16 position in January 2013. This run plus continuous catalog sales has led the track to over 5.7 million sales so far.

The second hit from Plus (+) was Lego House with a #5 peak in the UK and a #42 spot in the US. It has sold 3.5 million units to date. Overall, songs from Ed Sheeran‘s debut album sold more than 16 million downloads and ringtones.

The British pop singer stepped up with the release of Multiply (x). The album contained two UK #1 hits with Sing and Thinking Out Loud plus 3 US Top 10 smashes, Don’t, Photograph and the aforementioned Thinking Out Loud which went as high as #2.

This latter single sold a tremendous 12 million, a tally fairly impressive considering the market was already largely moving into streaming when it was issued as a single in November 2014.

Songs from the album combine for 34 million copies including the 5.5 million sales of the stand-alone singles among which I See Fire and Lay It All on Me which were later included into the album’s tracklist.

Then came the double A singles Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill. The former is one of the biggest hits in recent memory. 

Shape was #1 for 16 weeks in Canada, 15 in Australia, Denmark and France, 14 in the UK and Switzerland, 13 in Austria, Sweden and New-Zealand, 12 in the US and the Netherlands, and 11 in Germany among others.

This unreal success brought the song to 9.3 million sales. While it doesn’t seem like much in comparison to 2008-2012 smashes, by 2017 standards that’s a terrific total. Perfect also went through the roof, selling upwards 5.5 million with a late 2017 release from an album that had already sold bucketloads.

In the same way, I Don’t Care scores an impressive total of 2.6 million for a 2019 track. It does so thanks to more than 1.1 million sales in China.

Bad Habits, close to a million units, also did wonders for a 2021 single, especially with no Chinese release. Shivers was a downloads beast too with over 600,000 units.

Sheeran’s career-to-date tally of digital single sales stands at 88.7 million units.

CSPC streaming Spotify Apple Music TIDAL Deezer YouTube Genie AWA Xiami

Streaming

Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube. To factor in the growing impact of multiple Asian countries where these platforms aren’t always the go-to site for music streaming, more sources have been added.

In order to account for their real popularity in each relevant country, the below sources have been used along with the mentioned ratios that reflect the market share of each area.

Audio Streams
– South Korea: Genie streams * 2.20 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan: AWA streams * 100 / 4 (AWA has 4% of the Japanese streaming market)
– Arabic world: Anghami streams
– Sub-Saharan Africa: Boomplay + Audiomack streams
– Elsewhere: Spotify streams * Spotify market shares based on artists’ market distribution

Video Streams
– China* : QQ video streams * 50 if the song is available for audio stream, QQ video streams * 5 elseway (scale built based on known figures for several major artists)
– Elsewhere : Youtube views increased by 10% to account for various local platforms

*since Chinese streaming platforms are mostly video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted on par with YouTube streams.

Audio Stream value – 1,500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream value – 6,750 views equal 1 album unit

Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * ArtistRatio + Genie * 2.20 + AWA * 100 / 4 + Anghami + Boomplay + Audiomack ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube * 1.1 ) / 6750

Top Hits

Shape of You is the most streamed song on Spotify with a massive 4 billion streams. Perfect is 3rd all-time with a no less impressive 3.6 billion. On YouTube, they are as ridiculously big too with 14 billion combined.

Together, these two songs add for 8 million equivalent album sales from streams alone.

He’s got 4 more immensely popular tracks. Thinking Out Loud, Photograph, I Don’t Care and Bad Habits have all top at least 1.7 billion streams while Castle on the Hill, Beautiful People, Galway Girl and Happier are all over the 1.2 billion plateau.

In South Korea (Genie), Shape of You is unsurprisingly a monster with 133 million streams. Thinking Out Loud, Photograph, Perfect, I Don’t Care and Bad Habits all range from 18 to 50 million.

Japan (AWA) doesn’t seem to be as enthusiastic about Ed Sheeran as the rest of the world since numbers are lower. In reality, the streaming market there remained weak until recently.

Still, Shape of You pulls great numbers and proves to be a true A-league smash for the country’s standards.

Shape of You remains one of the few international songs to reach 1 billion streams in China. That’s far from being his only hit, though, as many other songs record great numbers.

In terms of albums, ÷ (Divide) is the biggest with 21 million equivalent album sales. No need to say it’s the most streamed album of all-time, with no real challenger at this level.

Full catalog breakdown

If you are familiar with the artist’s catalog and want to check details of each and every song, you can access to all of them right here.

Keep yourself up to date

Our website provides you a fantastic tool which fetchs updated Spotify streams as you request them, use it to watch these results grow day after day!

Ed Sheeran compilations sales

It sounds fairly logical to add together weighted sales of one era – studio album, physical singles, downloads, streams – to get the full picture of an album’s popularity. For older releases though, they also generate sales of various live, music videos and compilation albums.

All those packaging-only records do not create value, they exploit the value originating from the parent studio album of each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, when such compilations are issued, this downgrades catalog sales of the original LP.

Thus, to perfectly gauge the worth of these releases, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all the compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains this method.

The distribution process

CSPC Ed Sheeran Loose Change EP sales

How to understand this table? If you check this example of the Loose Change EP, these figures mean it sold 122,500 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 1,172,153 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.

The second part on the right of the table shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package.

Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from Plus are responsible for 84% of Orphan tracklist attractiveness, which means it generated 103,000 of its 122,500 album sales, weighted 0.5 for EPs, and so on for the other records.

Compilations sales figures listing

Full Length related records Sales – Summary

CSPC Ed Sheeran compilation sales distribution

Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales of all kinds it generated. Due to the dependency of sales of the original studio albums on these releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw

These numbers are obtained by applying the method from the section The distribution process to all packages listed under Compilation sales figures listing category.

Total Album (all types) Sales per Country

CSPC Ed Sheeran album sales per market

Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.

Ed Sheeran Career CSPC Results

CSPC Ed Sheeran albums and songs sales

So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Ed Sheeran achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!

Albums CSPC results

In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.

'Av.' stands for Average, 'LD' for Last Day.

As a reminder:

  • Studio Album: sales of the original album
  • Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
  • Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
  • Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
  • Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/6750 for Video stream)

Artist career totals

See where the artist ranks among remaining singers


With two albums well, well above the 25 million mark, one can hardly doubt the immense global appeal of Ed Sheeran.

The album Plus (+) was relatively unnoticed in various places but it has been attracting attention strongly ever since thanks to the push coming from its follow up albums. It is already up to 13 million equivalent album sales.

A few years ago, many chart enthusiasts didn’t though Ed Sheeran would be able to match the success of Multiply (x). Why? The success of such a monster record is often hard to reproduce, especially in this day and age. He didn’t just match it, but rather, surpassed it.

The album Divide (÷) climbs all the way up to 32 million equivalent album sales, topping Multiply (x)‘s 27 million.

This is despite the former selling 1.4 million less than the latter in original album format. Another example of pure sales not being representative of the full picture.

Both albums belong to the top 4 of the decade along with Adele albums 21 and 25.

As we mentioned earlier, No.6 Collaborations Project is of different nature than his previous records, but it still registers a solid 9 million album equivalents.

At first, Equals (=) was off to a cold start on streaming platforms, the continuous success of Bad Habits and Shivers plus additional stand-alone hits pushed it to the same level as its predecessor. It’s only a matter of time until these 5 albums are all past 10 million.

Subtract (-) is off to an even colder start, failing to hit a million by now, will it be able to reverse the trend as Equals (=) did?

Up to 54 million sales the first time we studied him in 2018, Ed Sheeran is now on his way to hit 100 million career sales as he stands only 3 million short.

Singles CSPC results

The list is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each song. Therefore, these figures are not merged units of singles formats. Instead, it includes weighted sales of the song’s physical single, download, ringtone and streaming as well as its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

Discography results

Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that sales represent 31.76 million times the purchase of entire discography. Coupled with total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 304.

The ranking of all artists studied so far is available too at this link.

Records & Achievements

  • At 97,204,000 EAS, Ed Sheeran is the highest selling solo artist who debuted in 2011 or later.
  • At 27,425,000 EAS, Multiply (x) is the most successful album from 2014, 4th of the decade.
  • At 32,330,000 EAS, Divide (÷) is the most successful album from 2017, 2nd of the decade.
  • Both Multiply (x) and Divide (÷) are the most successful male albums since Eminem‘s Eminem Show from 2002.
  • At 7,475,000 EAS, Thinking Out Loud is the most successful song from 2014, 10th of the decade.
  • At 10,127,000 EAS, Shape Of You is the most successful song from 2017, 4th of the decade.
  • At 7,774,000 EAS, Perfect is the 2nd most successful song from 2017, 7th of the decade.
  • At 20,978,000 EAS from streaming, Divide is the most successful streaming album of all-time.
  • At 13,041,000 EAS from streaming, Multiply (x) is among the 10 most successful streaming albums of all-time.
  • At 4,011,849,442 streams, Shape of You is the most streamed song ever on Spotify.
  • At 10,977,389 streams, I Don’t Care held the most 1-day streams ever on Spotify when first released.
  • Ed Sheeran became the first artist ever to debut with two songs inside the Top 10 in the US in the same week (Shape of You #1, Castle On The Hill #6).
  • At 33 weeks, Shape of You was the longest running Top 10 hit ever in the US by the end of its chart run.
  • Ed Sheeran became the first artist ever to debut at #1 and #2 in the UK (Shape of You #1, Castle On The Hill #2).
  • In the UK, Ed Sheeran holds the record for most simultaneous hits inside the Top 5 (5), Top 10 (9), Top 20 (16), Top 100 (19), all set on Divide‘s release week.
  • At 672,000 units in week 1, Divide is the 3rd fastest selling album ever in the UK.
  • At 6, Plus (+) has the record for the most calendar years reaching the Top 10 album chart in the UK (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017).
  • At 104 weeks, Divide (÷) is the longest running solo album ever inside the UK Top 10 album chart. Multiply (x) is runner up at 99.
  • At 41 weeks, Ed Sheeran has the most weeks at #1 in the UK Album chart of the 2010s.
  • At 15 weeks, Shape of You was the longest running #1 hit ever in Australia until Tones & I‘s Dance Monkey.

NB: EAS means Equivalent Album Sales.



Dynamic Spotify Key Performance Indicators

Please note that numbers below are retrieved automatically, so they will evolve day by day unlike previously listed data which is valid as of the publication date of the article.

Ed Sheeran

Ed

Current followers count: 115,913,468
110,000,000 followers have been reached on 02/26/23
100,000,000 followers have been reached on 07/19/22
>> Daily breakdown

Ed Sheeran is #1 among the most followed artists of all-time
>> Visit our Top 200 most followed artists ranking

Current streams count: 45,873,045,954
45,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 10/11/23
44,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 08/12/23
43,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 06/24/23
50,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 06/16/23
42,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 04/26/23
41,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 03/03/23
40,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 01/13/23
39,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 11/05/22
38,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 09/14/22
37,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 07/21/22
36,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 05/26/22
35,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 04/10/22
34,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 02/22/22
33,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 01/01/22
32,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 11/16/21
31,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 10/05/21
30,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 08/14/21
29,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 06/09/21
28,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 03/09/21
27,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 12/16/20
26,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 09/17/20
25,000,000,000 streams have been reached on 06/18/20
>> Daily breakdown

Ed Sheeran is #5 among the most streamed artists of all-time
Popularity Rating: /100

>> Visit our Top 1,000 most streamed artists ranking
>> Visit our Top 20 highest rated artists ranking

Current monthly listeners: 78,915,430 (Trend: 4,132,085)
Global chart position: #6
The artist top 50 cities come from 29 distinct countries
>> Global impact breakdown

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: IFPISpotifyYouTubeDiscogs.

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