March 10, 2017 / 6:16 PM / in 9 months

Divide and conquer: Sheeran smashes UK chart records with new album

LONDON (Reuters) - British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s new album “÷” became the fastest selling by a solo male artist in British chart history on Friday, with hits from the record also dominating the singles chart.

FILE PHOTO: Ed Sheeran performs at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

“÷”, pronounced “divide”, sold 672,000 in its first week, making it the third highest seller of all time behind Adele’s “25” and Oasis’s “Be Here Now”.

The third studio album by Sheeran, 26, has already achieved “double platinum” status, the Official Charts Company said, and sold more copies than the rest of the top 500 records combined.

Lead single “Shape Of You”, initially released in January, was the top selling single, achieving 141,000 combined chart sales. The entire top 5 is composed of other songs by Sheeran, and all 16 songs from the album appear in the top 20.

“Wow! What a phenomenal week. I‘m buzzing,” Sheeran said.

The Official Charts Company said that the feat was something that no artist had come close to achieving before.

The album achieved success across all formats. It broke the record for highest first-week streaming sales, set by grime rapper Stormzy just last week, and even achieved the biggest one-week vinyl sales in over 20 years.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Toby Davis

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