Ed Sheeran tops UK charts with ‘Subtract’ after copyright victory

LONDON (Reuters) – Pop star Ed Sheeran topped the UK music charts with his latest album, the critically acclaimed “Subtract”, on Friday, a week after winning a U.S. copyright trial over one of his biggest hits.

“Subtract”, the British singer-songwriter’s sixth studio album, went straight to no. 1, extending Sheeran’s “flawless run of chart-topping albums”, the Official Charts Company said.


The record is the fastest-selling album of 2023 for now, shifting 76,000 chart units in its opening week, with nearly three-quarters made up of physical copies, it said, adding, “Subtract” was also the best-selling vinyl album of the week.

“Subtract also sees Ed edge ahead of The 1975 in the list of acts to have reached the summit with all of their studio albums, now boasting six to the latter’s five,” the Official Charts Company added.

Sheeran had been working on the album for a while but re-wrote it early last year following a turbulent month during which his best friend, UK music entrepreneur Jamal Edwards, died and his pregnant wife was diagnosed with a tumour that could only be removed after the birth of their child. He was also facing a UK copyright trial over his 2017 song “Shape of You”, a case he went on to win.

More subdued that his previous albums, critics have praised “Subtract” with The Telegraph newspaper calling it “a raw, powerful balm for suffering souls” while The Guardian hailed it as “easily his best ever album”.

Its success came a week after a jury in a Manhattan federal court decided Sheeran’s 2014 hit “Thinking Out Loud” did not unlawfully copy from Marvin Gaye’s classic 1973 song “Let’s Get It On” – a verdict Sheeran said would help protect the creative process for song writers in the U.S. and globally.

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Nick Macfie)