Having already claimed numerous sales records since making its bow four months ago, Ed Sheeran’s Divide, has been named the U.K.’s biggest selling entertainment product in the first six months of 2017, beating the home cinema release of Rogue One -- A Star Wars Story by almost 885,000 units.
The Warner Music album, which topped the Billboard 200 and saw all 16 of its tracks enter the Official UK Singles Chart upon its release, has sold just over 2 million units in the U.K. year-to-date, according to mid-year figures from British trade body the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).
The second highest selling U.K. music release of 2017 so far is Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s debut Human (Sony), which has sold close to 700,000 units and stands at No. 6 in the overall entertainment sales rankings, comprising of music, video and games retail sales across physical and digital formats in the United Kingdom.
The other music releases in the top 40 chart were Now That’s What I Call Music 96 (Sony/Universal), which has sold over 530,000 units, Drake’s More Life (228,000 units), Sheeran's X (224,000 units), Little Mix’s Glory Days (215,000), Take That’s Wonderland (212,000) and Stormzy’s debut Gang Signs & Prayer (188,000).
Despite music only accounting for a handful of releases among the year’s best selling entertainment titles, overall music sales combining physical, digital and streaming subscriptions grew by 11 percent, compared with the same period of 2016, generating £564 million ($735 million) in revenue.
Total entertainment sales climbed 6 percent to just under £3 billion ($3.9 billion), with computer games remaining the most popular entertainment sector, followed by DVD and film subscriptions and music in third place, representing just under 20 percent of the U.K.’s entertainment retail market.
ERA cites increased update in streaming subscriptions such as Spotify, Amazon and Netflix as a key contributor behind the growth, with 75 percent of all retail sales now coming from digital formats. Only vinyl bucked the trend, with sales up 36 percent to 1.9 million units in the first half of 2017, representing over £37 million ($48 million) in retail value.
"Entertainment has now seen over four years of continuous growth thanks to a combination of digital services pioneering new ways of consuming music, video and games, and physical retailers working hard to maximise sales of discs," said ERA CEO Kim Bayley, calling 2017’s strong first year growth an "extraordinary" feat.