ALL HAIL OUR NEW GINGER OVERLORD!
Ed Sheeran is EVERYWHERE at the moment.
Topping the UK's album charts with ÷ (Divide), while also filling nine of the top ten places on the single charts, Sheeran Singularity is here to stay, people.
Divide is ALSO number one in Australia, along with it's fifteen other tracks all registering in the Top 40 charts. This is the first time any living artist has had more than fourteen singles in the Top 100 at the same time, too.
Sheeran scored ANOTHER number one for Divide over in America, securing the best sales week of 2017 so far with 451,000 copies sold. He is also number one in Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden.
Ed Sheeran’s mind boggling, record-breaking success has prompted calls for a 'drastic rethink' of the UK charts, however. There are concerns that his dominance of the singles chart in particular is destroying it's credibility, and something needs to be changed. That's the previously SUPER CREDIBLE singles chart featuring Fergie's M.I.L.F $ and Fallout Boy Ft. Missy Elliot's remixed Ghostbusters, if you were wondering.
Where a great deal of focus appears to be being directed is on the power of streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. As of 2017, 150 plays of a song on a streaming service counts as one sale. Alison Wenham, chief executive of the independent music body Worldwide Independent Network said "the rules will need to be examined fairly regularly in terms of the conversion – how many streams equals a download, etc”. Wenham believes the singles chart should now be changed so that it “has a degree of value associated with it, and people have paid to listen to it”.
President of the music managers group MMF Jon Webster also suggests the singles chart needs a drastic rethink. “You should be looking at two different things: what’s happening in streaming, and what’s happening in sales. You can’t mix them. It ends up in two different metrics and that’s the problem. When you were a kid and you bought a single, if you played it 500 times over five weeks it was still only one sale. But now we’re having that 500 times over five weeks in the chart. We live in a different world, and we need a different chart for a different world.”
Personally, something that has always puzzled me is simply the lack of definition when clarifying what is and what isn't a single. If the industry still insists on calling it the 'singles chart', should they be entering tracks that haven't even been identified as such? I would suggest not.
It depends what the industry wants of the charts, though. Do they want the charts to portray how popular an artist is? If the answer is yes, then nothing needs to be done. If, however, they want a chart which reflects both sales and where the revenue is flowing, then that is when something needs to be changed.
Ed Sheeran will not give two shits about any of this, though. There's no stopping him either. He's like a big, wistful, ginger Terminator. There may be fifteen Ed Sheeran songs in the Top 40, but there are also at least half a dozen more made in his image, and with his sound. Sheeran is auditioning talents for his very own boyband now, too! Who will sing HIS songs, and support him on HIS tour.
Something tells me we'll be seeing a lot more Ed Sheeran where that came from.