The days of Ed Sheeran having to go for a thrifty all-you-can-eat date while encouraging his partner to fill up her bag with sweet’n’sour scran are long gone: his live business alone has made the British musician one of the most bankable artists in the world: $110m of annual earnings according to Forbes. Even if the hits dry up, he’ll never go short of handbag-noodles again.
Streaming has been the base for all this, and today Sheeran has reached a new milestone. His track ‘Shape of You’ has just passed 2bn streams on Spotify, making it the first song to reach that achievement. By our reckoning, Drake’s ‘One Dance’ is its closest rival with 1.6bn Spotify streams – that track was the first to reach 1bn streams on Spotify back in December 2016.
Stop us if you saw this coming, but Spotify isn’t the streaming service where Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ has done its biggest numbers though. That, inevitably, is YouTube. There, the track’s official video is closing in on 4bn views (it’s on 3.95bn at the time of writing) while its official lyric video has another 797.7m views. That’s well over double the Spotify streams, and that’s without counting views of creator and user-generated videos that use ‘Shape of You’.
Still, the track’s 2bn milestone is still a notable moment for Spotify, as the platform continues to increase its global scale. It’s also a reminder of the ever-lengthening life-cycle of a global hit in the streaming world. ’Shape of You’ was released in January 2017 and did 1.4bn Spotify streams that year – which means 600m more have come in 2018. Without new material, Sheeran was the fifth most-streamed artist on Spotify this year, also.