The year may be nearly over, but there’s still time for Ed Sheeran to pick up yet another accolade. The singer-songwriter, whose album ÷ (Asylum/Atlantic) is the biggest seller of the year, has been named Music Week’s Artist Of The Year 2017 for his stellar achievements across multiple sectors of the music business.
Since its release in March, Sheeran – who appears on the cover of the new print edition of Music Week – has sold 2,508,136 copies of ÷ in the UK, according to the Official Charts Company. He also scored the third highest first-week sales of all time (and the highest-ever for a male solo artist) with the album’s first-week tally of 671,542 copies. His innovative double single drop of Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill broke the industry mould and shattered streaming records, with both singles becoming huge sales and airplay hits, while at one stage he held nine of the Top 10 singles and had every track from his album in the Top 20.
His current single, Perfect, is favourite for this year’s Christmas No.1 and, globally, ÷ is one of the year’s biggest-sellers while Shape Of You is one of its most ubiquitous hits.
Sheeran also headlined Glastonbury festival, played a sold-out arena tour and has sold out 19 UK stadium dates for next year. He also enjoyed a hugely successful year as a songwriter for other artists, co-writing songs for the likes of Major Lazer, Rita Ora and James Blunt. He also appeared on two other huge albums, Taylor Swift’s Reputation and Eminem’s Revival.
“Winning Artist Of the Year is very humbling, and super exciting, thank you,” Sheeran told Music Week. “It’s been a great year. I don’t think me or anyone in my team expected it to go this well. We all had a guess on what the album might do sales-wise before release and it surpassed all of them.”
It’s been a great year. I don’t think me or anyone in my team expected it to go this well
Ben Cook, president of Sheeran’s label, Atlantic UK, told Music Week the award was “fantastic news” and praised the entire Asylum/Atlantic team and the Warner Music set-up worldwide for helping to make ÷ such a success.
“There was huge expectation on Ed to deliver and you never quite know how big something’s going to be,” Cook said. “But we were very excited by it and very passionate and committed. The whole Warner company globally bought into it.”
Sheeran’s manager, Rocket Music’s Stuart Camp told Music Week he was “ecstatic” about the Artist Of the Year accolade, won last year by Coldplay.
“For me, it’s just cementing the position we were in,” Camp said. “It’s proving that nothing was a fluke and he’s worked hard enough and is talented enough. We’ve shown he does deserve to be where he is and it really couldn’t have gone better.”
Sheeran, Camp and Cook are all interviewed in the new, Christmas double issue of Music Week, telling the inside story of the campaign alongside the likes of Warner Music’s Max Lousada, Sony/ATV’s Guy Moot, Radio 1’s Chris Price, Glastonbury Festival’s Emily Eavis, CAA’s John Ollier and other key members of Team Sheeran.