Suffolk singer Ed Sheeran was ninth most downloaded artist of 2016 – despite taking a break

Ed Sheeran donated a prize for the EACH/Sir Bobby auction

Ed Sheeran donated a prize for the EACH/Sir Bobby auction - Credit: Archant

Suffolk superstar Ed Sheeran was one of the nation’s most downloaded artists in 2016 – despite taking a year off from music.

Ed Sheeran announced new music on Twitter.

Ed Sheeran announced new music on Twitter. - Credit: Archant

According to official figures published today, Ed was the ninth most streamed artist of last year and his latest album X made the top 20 for musical downloads.

Although his annual chart position has fallen from 2015, when he took the number two spot and became the most streamed Spotify artist off all time, it remains a strong performance for a singer who did not release any new material or tour live.

While the majority of high performing album downloads for 2016, such as Adele’s chart-topping 25, were released that year or late in 2015, Ed’s X, pronounced “multiply”, had been out since June 2014.

The Thinking Out Loud singer, who attended Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, has also kept a low profile throughout 2016.

In September 2015, he told his fans via Twitter that he would not be releasing anything new “for a while” and later said he planned to “just go off into the wilderness somewhere for a bit”.

Although he has continued with his support for charities, including a performance at the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices annual gala dinner in December, and donating clothes to its charity shop in Framlingham, he has stayed away from social media.

However, 2017 is shaping up to be a return to the musical limelight for the A-Team singer, after announcing in a video on New Year’s Day that he would be putting new music out.


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The nine second video, in which he appears holding an A4 sheet of paper with the handwritten words “New music coming Friday!!”, has been shared 260,000 times on Twitter and liked by a further 475,000 accounts.

A second video, published yesterday, shows a horizontal black strip on a blue background changing to two circles above one another and has drawn comparison to the mathematical symbol theme of Ed’s first two albums. His debut +, pronounced “plus” was followed by X,

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The shapes on his latest video could be seen to mean “subtract” or “ratio”.

Overall, the music statistics produced by the British Phonographic Industry, have revealed a 68% increase in audio music streams in 2016, as well as a 53% rise in vinyl sales, with the late David Bowie’s final studio album Blackstar credited with helping to achieve the best figure since 1991.

Seven UK acts featured in the top-10 best selling artist albums.

Adele’s 25 was again the best-selling artist album, while Together by Michael Ball and Alfie Boe was 2016’s best-selling new artist release.

Other UK acts show strongly including Coldplay, Little Mix, The 1975, Rick Astley, Calvin Harris, Jess Glynne and The Rolling Stones.

Drake’s One Dance was year’s biggest single – with more than 141 million audio streams – while Clean Bandit’s Christmas No.1 Rockabye has enjoyed the longest chart-topping run for a UK act since 2007.

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