YouTube said Sheeran hit the billion-view milestone for the album as of Sunday, March 5. The 26-year-old singer earlier this year released lyric videos for “Castle on a Hill” and “Shape of You” on YouTube, and last Friday uploaded 14 songs to celebrate the album’s March 3 release. His global hit single “Shape of You” alone has more than 693 million views for the lyric video and official music video to date.
According to YouTube, Sheeran — who rose to prominence from early videos he shared on the service — has gained over 3 million subscribers in the last two months, the most of any channel this year. He currently has more than 13 million subs. Overall, Sheeran occupied six spots out of YouTube’s Top 100 Videos for the week ended Feb. 23.
Sheeran also is currently the most-streamed artist on Spotify, where he has 7.8 million followers. Three tracks from “Divide” currently sit atop Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart (“Shape of You,” “Galway Girl” and “Castle on the Hill”).
YouTube — which has had an often-contentious relationship with the music biz — credited Sheeran’s label, Atlantic Records, for its strategy of helping fans discover “Divide” through the release of lyric videos, art tracks, live videos and premium music videos as well as allowing user-generated content incorporating Sheeran’s songs to be shared on YouTube.
“Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest stars in the world and his new album is his best yet. For years, he’s paired his songs with consistently creative music videos, so it’s great to see fans rushing to YouTube to watch them and show support for his new album,” said Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, in a statement. The former CEO of Warner Music Group’s recorded music division joined the Google-owned service last year.
Meanwhile, Sheeran’s 2014 video for “Thinking Out Loud” alone has 1.5 billion views on YouTube.