Understanding: why Ed Sheeran did better than Adele in the UK

Record Breaker

Many things have been said about Ed Sheeran destroying UK charts. Mostly wrong things though. This is what happens when a pretty technical subject like Charts & Sales suddenly appears on news impacting a larger public, which is necessarily way less educated on the matter. Chartmasters.org goal is precisely to erase those misconceptions and give a real meaning to figures. Today, we will do just that by studying Ed Sheeran album Divide UK first week results with a specific point of view – the one over Adele shoulders.

Most of this week media buzz went about the Singles chart where Ed Sheeran pushed all 16 tracks from his new album into the Top 19. All those talks about a mere technicality completely failed to highlight this week real deal – Divide recorded the biggest debut week of all-time.

In fact, numbers are in – Ed Sheeran third LP moved 671,542 units in its first week, the second – more on that below – highest entry ever, only topped by Adele’s monster effort 25 which shifted 800,307 copies back in November 2005. Topped in sales, not in success.

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Ed’s sales are cute tho, real cute.


MJD… This is a little bit off-topic but I need to know your opinion on something. What do you think of Ed Sheeran placing all songs from the same album in the UK official singles Top 20 on the week of release, while the streams of those songs were also counted within the albums chart? Do you think that’s normal/acceptable? Of course, Ed Sheeran is just the best example illustrating that problem… This is happening again with Drake this week and will happen again every time a big acts releases their album from now on, unless the OCC establishes new… Read more »


Sorry for taking so long to reply. It is a tricky issue to address I thought I’d take my time before replying. First I would like to know… What were/are those formulas that you created to factor in streaming? Are these very different from the ones currently used by (for instance) the OCC? I’m very curious to know! You’re right. I didn’t really realize double counting existed, and I didn’t really realize how big of an issue that was until the Ed Sheeran case happened. But now it’s just so obvious that something is wrong… I mean, 3 weeks ago… Read more »