Ed Sheeran's new album ÷ (or Divide) easily hits #1 on the Billboard 200, with the largest debut week so far this year. The singer-songwriter earned 451,000 equivalent album units, with 322,000 in traditional album sales. This is also the largest sales week in 2017. It is Sheeran's second #1 album, as 2014's x also debuted at #1.
In a statement, Sheeran said, "After being away for so long, I was hoping my fans would feel the new music was worth the wait, but the response has been beyond my wildest expectations. Heartfelt thanks to all who picked up ÷ this week. Its f—king bonkers. Absolutely chuffed."
Craig Kallman, Chairman/CEO and Julie Greenwald, Chairman/COO, Atlantic Records said, "Ed is that rarest of artists whose songs cut across boundaries of age, culture, and nationality. He writes music that is deeply personal and at the same time completely universal, and he has created a phenomenal album that is striking a chord with millions of people across the globe. In six short years, Ed has become a superstar by simply being himself – an amazing, down-to-earth human being who is an out-of-this-world musician, songwriter, and performer. All of us at Atlantic are immensely proud to have Ed in our family, and we congratulate him on this landmark achievement."
Metallica's Hardwired… To Self-Destruct climbs from #14 to #2 thanks to the rockers' 2016 album coming bundled with tickets to their upcoming North American stadium tour. According to Billboard's rules, redemption of an album included with the purchase of a ticket counts as a sale during the week the customer redeems and receives it. The Metallica tour actually went on sale on February 17.
At #3 is Bruno Mars with 24K Magic, followed by Future's self-titled album at #4 and its immediate follow-up HNDRXX at #5. Migos comes in at #6, followed by The Weeknd at #7 and the Moana soundtrack at #8.
The only other top ten debut this week comes from 19-year-old R&B singer Khalid with American Teen. The Trolls soundtrack rounds out the top ten.