(By Hugh McIntyre | Published on January 12, 2017 for forbes.com)
Ed Sheeran can’t help but make history over and over again.
Just a few days after he released a pair of new singles, “Castle On The Hill” and “Shape Of You,” on Spotify at the same time (exciting and shocking many of his millions of fans in the process), it was clear that both of the tunes were new favorites, and the numbers on the Swedish streaming platform back up just how popular he and his music truly are.
Earlier this week, Sheeran broke the all-time record for the most plays of one song in 24 hours on Spotify when both of his new tunes bested the previous record holder. “Castle On The Hill” was played 6,168,395 times, while “Shape Of You” was streamed an incredible 6,868,642 different times in just one day. Both of those numbers were big enough to smash the one-time record holder, which was 4,759,698 plays in a single day, set when One Direction’s new single “Drag Me Down” was released back in 2015.
Now, just days later, Sheeran has broken his own record and set the bar a little bit higher. According to data from Spotify (reported by Music Business Worldwide), “Shape Of You” was played 7,240,930 million times in a 24-hour period, which creates a new peak when it comes to the most streams in a day for any single.
It is unlikely that either “Shape Of You” or “Castle On The Hill” will be able to yet again tackle their own high points after so many streams, but it seems with these two tracks, anything is possible. The songs have now been played tens of millions of times, and they haven’t yet even been available for a full week. With so many streams on just one of the major players in that industry, it’s impossible that download sales will wind up being dismal, and that’s good news for Sheeran when it comes to where he and his new songs will debut on singles charts all around the world.
The fact that Sheeran was able to break One Direction’s record isn’t terribly shocking, given how far streaming services like Spotify have come in just the year or so since that milestone was set, but that his songs kept climbing after hitting an unprecedented achievement is impressive, and it shows that interest in the tracks is still growing. While many people likely hit play on Sheeran’s new singles first thing last Friday morning, it took others time to get around to it, or even to log into Spotify and see that they were available. Even so, it’s notable that his songs could change history immediately, and then do so again just days later, after millions had already heard them.