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THE SHEERAN SHOW BEGINS
5/9/23

As Ed Sheeran heads toward his sixth U.K. #1 album, Atlantic U.K. Marketing Director Sam Spencer details the label’s hopes and dreams for the busiest man in pop.

Already the U.K.’s fastest-selling album of 2023, - aka Subtract has three tracks in the singles Top 20. Still, this campaign is less about the numbers, says Spencer, for an album that sees Sheeran return to his singer/songwriter roots.

“We have some private numbers that we’d like to hit but we’re not laser focused on that. This project is all about taste and tone. Our main focus is all about the storytelling, trying to stop traffic with the creative that we’ve put around the album, reconnecting with fans around the world and critical acclaim for something that's so deeply personal.”

The first official single from -, “Eyes Closed,” became Sheeran’s 12th #1 in the U.K. as a lead artist in April. To date, the track has tallied 143m global streams and sits at #3 in the U.K midweeks. It was followed by album taster-track “Boat” (#12 today). “Curtains” is the next focus track, which is the highest new U.K. singles chart entry at #10 this week, “but we want to see what fans take to and pivot towards,” Spencer says.

Other campaign highlights include an Apple Music Live performance on Wednesday, the recent arrival of Sheeran’s The Sum of It All documentary series on Disney+, and 200 fan events that took place all over the world on Friday. The activity was buoyed on Thursday by a victory for Sheeran in his copyright infringement lawsuit. Sheeran’s U.S. tour started in Texas over the weekend; he will visit stadiums across the U.S. in the summer alongside smaller theater shows.

Fourteen videos of songs dropped on Friday, directed by Mia Barnes and shot in the freezing cold coast of Suffolk in November. Annie Leibovitz did all the photography for the campaign. (Expect some “very fun” behind the scenes content to arrive over the next few weeks, says Spencer).

Other key team members include Grumpy Management’s Stuart Camp and Gabby Cawthorne, Atlantic U.K co-President Ed Howard, the Atlantic U.S. team, led by Julie Greenwald and Gregg Nadel, and Warner leadership Tony Harlow and Max Lousada.

“These albums are a monumental effort from everybody in every corner of the world,” Spencer concludes. “A massive shout out to everyone that's working on the project in every territory to get it to release date and for making it all feel so amazingly beautiful.”