Ed Sheeran hits new Spotify high with two billion streams

Ed Sheeran

He was the most streamed artist on Spotify last year, and now Ed Sheeran has hit a new record.

He's become the first British artist to reach two billion streams, and the second in Spotify's history behind Eminem.

Thinking Out Loud also dominates Spotify's Sleep playlist and is the most streamed song in the US.

Ed Sheeran has bucked the trend of other celebrities criticising Spotify, and even says he owes his career to it.

Ed Sheeran's page on Spotify
Image caption "All my fans started off file-sharing my music, so it's a different generation," says Ed Sheeran

'Great music can be successful on all formats'

Mark Mitchell, the General Manager of Atlantic Records UK, points out that Ed Sheeran's made the achievement on two albums.

He says: "[It] highlights the popularity of his timeless sound and the explosive growth of his army of fans.

"[It also] demonstrates how great music can be successful on all formats."

'One of the best loved artists on Spotify'

Spotify also praises Ed Sheeran's universal appeal.

Kevin Brown, Spotify's head of label relations for Europe, said Ed had embraced the platform with his launch strategy for the album x (multiply).

"Ed Sheeran is quite simply one of the best loved artists on Spotify globally, and we are thrilled that he has achieved this milestone.

"That it continues to be enormously popular with our users almost a year later and is still winning new fans, is testament to the quality of the album and the enduring appeal of Ed as an artist."

Ed Sheeran in a cafe
Image caption Ed Sheeran has recently hinted at wanting a walk-on part in Game of Thrones

'It helps me do what I want to do'

Ed Sheeran has been outspoken in favour of Spotify, where other musicians have criticised the service.

Speaking at the BBC Music Awards last year, the 24-year-old said: "I'm playing sold-out gigs in South America, I've sold out arenas in Korea and south-east Asia.

"I don't think I'd be able to do that without Spotify.

"For me, Spotify is not even a necessary evil. It helps me do what I want to do."

Artists including Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke have pulled their songs from the music streaming site.

Swift deleted her back catalogue from the service a week before her new album, 1989, came out.

It went on to become the first record to sell 1.287 million copies in the US, the highest first week sales since 2002.

Ed Sheeran
Image caption Ed Sheeran says his popularity on Spotify enabled him to play three nights at Wembley Stadium

Taylor Swift has also criticised Spotify's royalty rates, which average $0.007 (£0.0045) per play.

But Ed responded to that by saying, while he respected other views, he felt the royalty rates were fair.

"I think Spotify are paying the right amount... We're just not seeing it because the labels aren't making as much as they used to, so they want to keep a lot of the money that Spotify give them.

"I get a percentage of my record sales, but it's not a large percentage. I get [the profits from] all my ticket sales, so I'd rather tour."

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter, BBCNewsbeat on Instagram, Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube and you can now follow BBC_Newsbeat on Snapchat