Musicians looking to find the elusive formula for Spotify success may want to follow the lead of diminutive Brit Ed Sheeran. After recently becoming one of a handful of artists to reach 2 billion streams on the service (alongside Eminem and DJ David Guetta), the singer-songwriter has reportedly reached another milestone: becoming the first artist to pull 500 million streams from a single song.
Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud crossed over the 500 million mile marker over the last week, sitting at 501 million and counting at the time of publication. That number adds to other streaming monsters from the 24 year-old artist, including Photograph (over 200 million), Don’t (just under 230 million), and I See Fire (pushing 300 million).
Related: Ed Sheeran crosses 2 billion streams
Not bad for a guy who was a relative unknown before catching the eyes (and ears) of Sir Elton John and Jamie Foxx in 2011 and signing a deal with Asylum Records. The rest, as they say, is streaming history.
Sheeran commented on the monumental achievement for his song as only a British Millennial could.
“Chuffed to hear that Thinking Out Loud has had half a billion plays on Spotify. Being the first artist to hit that milestone is amazing,” Sheeran said, according to the Evening Standard.
“Thanks to all the people who use this as a wedding song, soundtrack to a date and as a way to woo someone into a Netflix and Chill situation,” the artist continued, adding some humor into the mix, while the eyes of anyone over the age of 40 rolled accordingly at the the increasingly ubiquitous Netflix meme used by Millennials to signal a hookup situation.
Sheeran’s monstrous presence at the top of the leading on-demand streaming service cannot be overestimated. According to Spotify over 19 million users listen to his songs monthly (roughly the same number as Spotify’s total paid subscriber base), and Sheeran will soon pass another milestone as his total streams look to cross the 3 billion threshold — the artist’s streaming total now sits at 2.9 billion and counting.
Just how important is Sheeran to Spotify? The company has recently drawn up a map it’s calling The Sheerio Index, which color coordinates the singer’s popularity across international lines, in which “Redder means more Ed Sheeran listening per Spotify user.” Take that, One Direction.
Up next for Sheeran is a primetime spot as co-host of the MTV European Music Awards with Australian model/DJ/actress Ruby Rose.
Updated 10/12/2015: This post was updated to add Spotify’s newest data tracker for Ed Sheeran listening, The Sheerio Index.