Sheeran reaches the Artist 100's summit at last, hitting No. 1 in his 60th week on the survey (completing a record climb). Not that he hadn't come close to the top: he's ranked in the top 20 each week since the chart premiered July 19, 2014 and has resided in the top 10 each frame dating to Oct. 25; he'd previously spent four nonconsecutive weeks ranking as high as No. 2.
Sheeran zooms to the top with a 94 percent gain in overall activity, highlighted by a 339 percent surge in album sales. Reflecting the rise, his 2014 album x jumps 7-2 on Top Album Sales with a 378 percent increase to 80,000, according to Nielsen Music, following his Aug. 16 NBC concert special, Ed Sheeran – Live at Wembley Stadium, and the set's temporary 99-cent discount-pricing in the Google Play store. Meanwhile, his current single "Photograph" keeps at its No. 15 high on the Hot 100.
As Sheeran rewrites the steadiest ride to No. 1 on the Artist 100, the act that set the longevity mark last week (Aug. 29) dips to No. 2: Luke Bryan hit the summit for the first time in his 59th week; he's down by 58 percent in activity as his Kill the Lights dims by 74 percent (to a still impressive 83,000, following its hefty 320,000-unit start) and holds at No. 1 on Top Album Sales.
The Weeknd (3-3), Taylor Swift (4-4) and Drake (6-5) round out the Artist 100's top five.
N.W.A Takes Over Charts, Gets First Top 40 Hit on Hot 100
Also in the Artist 100's top 10, N.W.A rockets 70-7, as the influential rap group's sales surge thanks to the buzz of its hit biopic Straight Outta Compton. Meanwhile, N.W.A's Eazy-E and Ice Cube debut at Nos. 57 and 63, respectively.
Elvis Presley hits a new high on the Artist 100, re-entering at No. 31, as his new collection Elvis Forever becomes his 53rd top 40 title on the Billboard 200. The King previously spent six weeks on the Artist 100 in December and January, reaching No. 53.
Among other Artist 100 debuts this week are former contestant on NBC's The Voice Melanie Martinez, at No. 29, as her Cry Baby is the highest new entry on Top Album Sales (No. 5, 32,000 sold); British pop girl group Little Mix (No. 80), as its "Black Magic" stirs up a 99-68 blast on the Hot 100; and rocker Grace Potter (No. 96), whose Midnight begins on Top Album Sales at No. 16 (13,000).
Check out the entire Artist 100 here.