UK Singles Chart Urged To ‘Re-Think’ Rules After Ed Sheeran’s Record-Breaking Success

Ed Sheeran is undoubtedly dominating the charts at the moment, with all 16 tracks from his latest album Divide appearing in the top 20 of the UK’s singles chart over the weekend.

And whilst it brings phenomenal success for the talented Brit, it’s caused an urgent re-think for how the UK singles chart operates.

Divide has reached the number one spot on album charts around the world, including the UK, U.S., Australia and other European countries, but his sheer dominance in the UK singles chart has raised worries about just how credible the chart is.

Getty Images

Alison Wenham, who is the chief executive of Worldwide Independent Network (an independent music body), said Ed’s chart triumph had ‘a certain chill factor in the charts’.

She went on to say,

Having Ed Sheeran dominate virtually the whole of the Top 20 is indicative of the fact it is evolving and the rules will need to be examined fairly regularly in terms of the conversion – how many streams equals a download.

The rules for the singles chart recently changed, taking streaming into account as a way of representing the way people are now listening to music, rather than basing it on sales alone.

150 plays or more of a song on a streaming site such as Spotify is now seen as the equivalent of one sale.

But the inclusion of free streams is slowly changing how fairly artists are represented in the charts.


Ed’s bizarre achievement has caused a lot of the industry’s experts to be concerned, but Martin Talbot – who is the chief executive of the Official Charts Company – said any changes won’t be made hastily.

We will review chart methodologies (as we continually do) to see if there is something we could or should change. But we shouldn’t (and won’t) rush to any kneejerk actions.

The 26-year old singer-songwriter spoke out about his sensational achievement, which sees him claim nine out of the top 10 singles, saying,

I never expected to have nine songs in the Top 10 ever in my life, so yeah, I don’t know, something’s gone wrong. But I’m definitely very, very happy about it.

Official Charts

His album Divide broke records in itself after its release and became the fastest-selling album by a solo male singer in the UK, selling over 700,000 copies in the first week.