Did Ed Sheeran break the NZ top 40 chart?

April 6, 2017

Did Ed Sheeran break the NZ top 40 chart?

Ed Sheeran's new album Divide has dominated the NZ top 40 chart. Photo: Joel Kulasingham

Ed Sheeran’s record-breaking dominance in the New Zealand Top 40 singles chart could lead to changes in how the chart is calculated.

This past month, Sheeran’s new album Divide made history by becoming the first album to have all 16 of its songs in the NZ Top 40 singles chart at the same time.

According to Recorded Music New Zealand’s chart compiler Paul Kennedy, Sheeran’s feat will trigger a review of the way the chart is compiled.

“It’s the first time this has happened. It is unprecedented for any artist to get all of their singles into the chart simultaneously,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Around the world, people have questioned whether this is an ideal situation.

“It makes you re-look at how things are calculated.”

The NZ Top 40 singles chart is made up of a combination of sales and streams. According to Mr Kennedy, the ratio used in the chart for streaming from outlets like Spotify was 175:1. This meant 175 streams equals one “sale” of a song.

Mr Kennedy said streaming had made it easier for an artist like Sheeran to dominate in this fashion, and the streaming ratio was one of the things that would be reviewed.

“There are a greater number of people using streaming now than there are buying. It’s just more people listening to something consistently.”

Mr Kennedy was unsure what specific changes, if any, would be made to the chart, but it would be monitored closely.

“We’ll have to wait and see what happens with future weeks as well. You don’t want to make a knee-jerk reaction based on one chart, so it will be monitored, certainly.

“It’s something that we do on an on-going basis anyway. The ratio is actually reviewed every three months."

“Sheeran's success had certainly drawn attention to the chart and how it was compiled, said Mr Kennedy. "So maybe that’s a good thing.”

The artist still has 9 of the 16 songs from his latest album on this week’s NZ Top 40 singles chart, including the number one single in the country Shape of You, beating out Lorde’s Green Light which holds fifth spot.

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