Ed Sheeran smashes Spotify records with new album ‘Divide’

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Ed Sheeran has smashed Spotify records with his new album "Divide," which drew nearly twice as many listens on its first day as the previous leader.

The world's largest streaming service said that the pop singer's album was heard nearly 57 million times on Friday, its first day of release.

The figure far outpaced the previous record-holder, R&B sensation The Weeknd's "Starboy," which drew 29 million streams when it was released in November.

The 26-year-old Sheeran performed especially well in his native Britain and in Ireland, where he traces ancestry and whose traditional music he incorporated in two songs on "Divide."

Ed Sheeran performing at a concert AP
Ed Sheeran performing at a concert AP

In both Britain and Ireland, all 16 songs on "Divide" were the top 16 on Spotify's chart of the country's most-streamed songs.

Sheeran on "Divide" delivers more of his trademark acoustic pop love songs, although he also branches in new directions by rapping one song and bringing in Irish as well as Ghanaian music.

Sheeran, after several years of playing on sidewalks and in bars, won a breakthrough international success with his 2014 love ballad "Thinking Out Loud."

That song became the first on Spotify to be streamed half a billion times, although the platform has been frequently reporting new records as streaming -- which allows unlimited, on-demand music online -- rapidly grows as a format.

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