Ed Sheeran on course to storm to top of Official Albums Chart
Ed Sheeran is on course to storm to the top of the Official Albums Chart after scoring a very impressive start to the week.
The Thinking Out Loud singer released his third album, Divide, on Friday and after just 24 hours on sale has racked up 232,000 physical and digital copies, more than his previous album, X, sold in its first week.
Divide is now on course to achieve one of the biggest first-week sales totals of recent years, with streaming data not yet included in the current figure.
The biggest first-week sales of any album in 2016 were for David Bowie's Blackstar, which sold 143,455 in one week last January.
President of Sheeran's label Atlantic Records UK, Ben Cook, said: "Ed is an artist that inspires a generation, and the release of Divide is a global event.
"It's great to see so many people across the world respond to this brilliant new work in such an unprecedented manner.
"As the way we release music changes, Ed continues to shape culture and how it evolves.
" It's early days, but we're really excited to see what we can achieve alongside Ed and his management on what is an outstanding landmark record."
On Friday, Stormzy beat Rag'n'Bone Man to the number one spot in the Official Albums Chart with his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer.
Greg James will present the mid-week Official Albums and Singles Chart round-up on BBC Radio 1 on Monday at 5.30pm.
Sheeran has also achieved unprecedented streaming success on Spotify, where Divide smashed records for best first day streams for an album, best one day streams for a track, and best one day streams for an artist.
Divide was streamed on the service 56,727,861, almost doubling the figure of previous record holder The Weeknd whose album Starboy reached 29 million streams in November 2016.
Sheeran overtook The Weeknd for one day artists streams, too, with 68,695,172 compared with his November 2016 figure of 40.3 million, and track Shape Of You hit 10,123,630 streams.
All 16 of Sheeran's new album tracks went into the Spotify Global Top 50 streamed tracks and made up the entire top 16 songs in the UK and Ireland-specific charts.
The 16 tracks on Divide made the Spotify top 50 in 11 other markets - Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Switzerland.
Sheeran is currently the most-streamed artist on Spotify, with more than 45.5 million monthly listeners.