Ed Sheeran obliterates streaming records, looks set to claim biggest-selling album of the year

Divide shifted 232,000 copies on its first day of release

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Ed Sheeran obliterated a number of streaming records with his third album ÷ [Divide] and looks set to claim the biggest album release of the year.

The 26-year-old racked up more than 56.73 million streams worldwide in the first 24 hours of its release on Spotify, beating the previous record held by The Weeknd's Starboy. 

He also broke his own record for plays of a single track on Spotify in 24 hours with 'Shape of You', which was streamed 10.12m times on the platform after its record-setting 7.94m streams when it was released on 6 January. 

Sheeran is currently the most-streamed artist on Spotify with more than 45.5 monthly listeners, and all 16 tracks from the deluxe edition of ÷ shot straight to the Spotify Global Top 50 streaming chart. 

According to early Official Charts Company figures, Sheeran's album sold 232,000 copies in the UK on 3 March across download and physical sales alone. 

Adele sold 300,000 copies of 25 but those figures do not include Sheeran's streaming numbers. 

Ben Cook, President of Atlantic Records UK, said: "Ed is an artist that inspires a generation, and the release of ÷ 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."

Billboard predicts that Divide will shift around 350,000 - 400,000 units in its first week, while other experts believe it could sell as many as 500,000.