24-year-old singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran is a big music streaming advocate — he is the most-streamed artist on Spotify, after all — but the hearthrob/superstar made a dumbfounding statement in a recent interview regarding his own experience with streaming services: he doesn’t use them.
In a new Billboard cover story, Sheeran told the publication that he doesn’t “stream anything ever.” This from the man who, to date, has racked up over 2 billion streams on Spotify alone.
“I don’t even really get [music streaming services],” he continued provocatively. “I buy everything off iTunes or physically.” Unlike Taylor Swift, though, he understands that allowing his music on streaming services can translate — in a big way — to ticket sales. And putting his records on streamers doesn’t seem to hurt his sales much either: 2014’s X has now sold nearly 12 million physical and digital copies worldwide.
“If my album is streamed by 2 billion people, which it was, you have maybe a billion that might check it out more online, and like 300,000 people that might buy a ticket,” explained Sheeran to Billboard. “If 300,000 people buy a ticket in one country at 80 dollars a pop, that’s more money than you would ever make off any album or streaming or anything.” Maybe he should share his reasoning with his friend Ms. Swift?
To be fair, the Sheeran’s record has been streamed over 2 billion times, not by 2 billion people, but it’s still a mind-boggling number. The artist can essentially attribute the lion’s share of his own success to Spotify, which is what makes his statement about never streaming music so astonishing.
Sheeran has hit some pretty incredible streaming numbers on Spotify this year. Apart from surpassing 2 billion streams on the service (a mark that only two other artists on the can claim: rapper Eminem and EDM star David Guetta), the pop star became the first artist to cross 500 million streams with one song earlier this month.
Sheeran may have savvy business sense but he may not have the most, shall we say, refined music taste. In the same interview, he also mentioned that he’s never listened to a Radiohead album (another band which has notoriously denounced streaming), and that he heard Bruce Springsteen for the first time “like two years ago.” At least he got on board when he finally got around to it, adding ” … now I f—ing love Springsteen.”
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