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Ed Sheeran & Elton John Highlight International Holiday Hits on Global Charts

The stars' "Merry Christmas" enters the Global Excl. U.S. chart at No. 10 and Global 200 at No. 20.

SZA scores the week’s highest debut on the Dec. 18-dated Billboard Global 200 as “I Hate U” arrives at No. 11. But Ed Sheeran and Elton John take top honors among new entries on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. survey, dashing in at No. 10 with “Merry Christmas.”

The team-up, released Dec. 3, drew 29 million streams and sold 42,300 downloads worldwide in its first week (ending Dec. 9), according to MRC Data. The song’s streams break down to 69% (20.1 million) from audio platforms and 31% (8.9 million) from video services, largely thanks to its festive official video that also premiered Dec. 3.


A 31% share might seem small for a song’s video streams, but it’s a rare high mark among holiday titles that mostly live on audio services, many of which predate the ’80s-era breakout of videos. Next in line is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” from 1994, with 16% of streams from video platforms, followed by Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” from 1984 (15%) and Sia’s “Snowman” (13%) and Pentatonix’s take on “Hallelujah” (12%), the latter two from the 2010s. Among all songs on Global Excl. U.S. this week, the average split is 80% for audio streams and 20% for video.

The British stars’ “Merry Christmas” also debuts at No. 20 on the Global 200. Of 58 carols on this week’s global charts, 42 perform better on the Global 200 than on Global Excl. U.S. Of those, just six are by artists from outside the U.S., including three from close Canadian neighbors Michael Bublé and Justin Bieber. Unsurprisingly, the 16 seasonal songs that rank higher on Global Excl. U.S. are dominated by non-U.S. acts; eight are from the U.K., three from Canada, two from Australia and one from South Korea.

“Fairytale of New York,” by London-formed The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, is No. 72 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart, 55 spots higher than its No. 127 rank on the Global 200. Plus, Australia-born Kylie Minogue’s rendition of “Santa Baby” re-enters at No. 149, still yet to hitch a sleigh ride back to the Global 200 this season.

“Merry Christmas” isn’t the week’s only global chart debut among new holiday songs. South Korea’s Stray Kids also enter Global Excl. U.S. at No. 197 with “Christmas EveL,” the title track from the group’s new four-song holiday EP.