By Hayden Wright
When Ed Sheeran’s ÷ [Divide] was released, he took the somewhat unorthodox step of releasing all the album’s tracks as audio videos on YouTube. It’s not an unheard-of promotional tactic, but it paid off when his album’s songs passed the billion views mark over the weekend. The English singer-songwriter had a running start with successful videos for “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill,” before the remainder of the album appeared on YouTube.
Related: 5 Best Songs on Ed Sheeran’s ‘÷’
According to Billboard, the move also earned his YouTube account 3 million new subscribers.
“Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest stars in the world and his new album is his best yet,” said Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music. “For years, he’s paired his songs with consistently creative music videos, so it’s great to see fans rushing to YouTube to watch them and show support for his new album.”
More than half of the billion-plus views belong to the lyric and music videos for “Shape of You,” a testament to the mammoth single. Fans can check out the audio videos for ÷ on Sheeran’s YouTube channel.