Ed Sheeran's smash "Shape of You" is still No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, leading the list dated (April 22) for an 11th week, but the follow-up single from Sheeran's album ÷ (Divide) has been announced. "Castle on the Hill" will officially begin impacting pop and adult radio effective immediately, according to Atlantic Records.
The move shouldn't come as a surprise, as "Castle" has already been spotlighted: it debuted at No. 6 on the Hot 100 dated Jan. 28, the same week that "Shape" launched at No. 1 (making Sheeran the first artist ever to debut two songs in the Hot 100's top 10 simultaneously).
Now, "Castle" begins its radio run. Stations have already taken to the song, as it jumps 33-28 on Billboard's Adult Pop Songs chart and debuts at No. 35 on Pop Songs. WNEW New York led all Adult Pop Songs reporters with 71 plays for the song in the week ending April 9, according to Nielsen Music, while WZPL Indianapolis paced all Pop Songs panelists with 96 plays, followed by SiriusXM's Hits 1 (61). "Castle" also rises 9-8, returning to its best rank so far, on the Adult Alternative Songs tally (where the pop-leaning "Shape" has not charted).
"Shape" tops Pop Songs for an eighth week and Adult Pop Songs for a seventh frame. It leads the all-genre Radio Songs chart for a ninth week, up 4 percent to 181 million in airplay audience.
"Castle," which Sheeran wrote and produced with Benjamin Levin (aka, Benny Blanco), who's written 25 Hot 100 top 10s, goes to radio with built-in familiarity, thanks to its arrival (concurrently with "Shape") ahead of the release of ÷. "Castle" has sold 335,000 downloads since its Jan. 6 premiere, making it the No. 22-top-selling track of 2017, per Nielsen Music. "Shape" is the No. 1-selling song of the year (1.7 million, currently the only song to have passed 1 million in sales year-to-date). Likewise, ÷ is the top-selling album of 2017 so far: 535,000 in its first five weeks, dating to its March 3 release. (It spent its first two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.) "Castle" also boasts 119 million U.S. streams to-date.
"'Castle' has been out there and fans love it," Atlantic Records senior vp promotion John McMann recently mused on Billboard's Chart Beat Podcast. McMann added that ballad "Perfect" could follow as the third single from ÷. "Hopefully, if all goes well, the second single gets rolling early this spring, takes us through the summer, and then hopefully 'Perfect' will be the next single that will be this gargantuan thing going into the fourth quarter."