It’s not even over yet, but Ed Sheeran has made music history once again, overtaking U2 as the artist with the highest-grossing concert tour of all time.
Back in March of 2017, English chart-topper Ed Sheeran hit the road to kick off his biggest tour to date. Touring in support of his then-recently released album, ÷ (Divide), Sheeran likely had no idea he was about to rewrite musical history in the process.
Fast forward two years, five months, and almost 250 shows, and the musician has managed to overtake U2 as the holder of the record for the highest-grossing tour of all time.
Taking to Instagram yesterday, Sheeran thanked all of his fans for their support over the last two years, and even noted how this tour still has a dozen dates to go before it’s even wrapped up.
“Today the Divide tour broke the all time tour record set by U2,” Sheeran wrote. “Its now the most attended and highest grossing tour of all time.
“Thanks so much for each and every one of you who have come to a show. 12 shows left, will never forget it.”
So, just how impressive is this record? Well, to put into perspective, U2 took the title of highest-grossing tour back in 2011 when their 360° Tour wrapped up in 2011, with the band having performed 110 shows in two years, grossing $736,421,584, and performing to 7,272,046 people along the way.
Look ahead to 2019, and Ed Sheeran has performed 239 shows (with 12 on the way), grossing $736,700,000, and drawing in 8,150,684 audience members across this period.
Now, while this is indeed a respectable record, many detractors of Sheeran would likely point out the fact that he has only averaged $2.9 million per show when compared to U2’s $6.7 million. Likewise, Sheeran brought in 33,744 people on average per show, while U2 saw nearly double that with 66,110.
Whether you think this record is based on quantity of shows rather than quality, or whether you think it’s downright impressive that a 28-year-old solo artist has set such a record, there’s no denying the fact that Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest drawcards on the scene today.
Of course, there’s no saying that this record will be Sheeran’s indefinitely. After all, it was only last year that Guns N’ Roses’ Not In This Lifetime Tour (which ends in November), became the second-highest grossing tour up to that point.
In the top 20 highest-grossing tours to date, only Metallica and Billy Joel are the other artists still in the middle of their treks, so who knows how the scoreboard will look within another year or two?