Did you manage to get tickets? After Ed's dates in Croke Park sold out in minutes, Bronwyn O'Neill looks at whether his break from social media upped the hype.
Ed Sheeran went from sleeping on his friend’s couch and singing about heroin addicts to being one of the world’s biggest stars and dueting with pop princess, Taylor Swift. After his second album, Multiply, was a huge success, Ed was on top of the world, selling out stadiums and having a huge online presence.
 
However at the end of 2015, Ed took a year's break to actually spend time seeing the world and get his head out of his phone. So from then on, there was radio silence until the 13th of December 2016, whem, exactly a year since he went on his break, he tweeted a blue square.
 
A blue square was enough to get everyone talking; there were articles written on the meaning behind the blue square and had everyone waiting with bated breath for the return of Ed Sheeran. His two comeback singles going straight to number one and two on the charts, whilst the anticipation for his tour tickets release this week was almost palpable.
 
This raises the question: would his third studio album and tour have been met with such fanfare if he had stayed present on social media? Was the year out a ploy to sell albums? Or did he deserve a break from the crazy life of an award winning singer?
 
I don’t think it’s a question of whether he would have had a successful third album with or without the break. His sold out global tour dates, as well as his sold out concerts in Croke Park and Wembley Stadium highlight that he was on top of his career. His fans were waiting diligently for his third album as soon as he came off of his tour. There is no doubt it would have been a hit.
 
However, after a year of touring, he deserved a break from the high life. Whilst his presence was sorely missed on social media, it seemed that he enjoyed his time away from the limelight. Taking the year to travel the world and really see it, rather than just seeing the venue and the hotel room he was staying in whilst on tour. The year may have been torturous for his fans, but he really seemed to enjoy himself!
 
Of course, the year break could have completely backfired on him, with people just not caring about him. Media outlets even posed questions like “Where does Ed Sheeran’s sound stand in the music industry?” Now he was only gone for one year, and if Madonna can stay relevant for decades and Craig David can make a huge comeback after twelve years, Ed Sheeran probably wouldn’t have been met with a chilly reaction.
 
The year break probably did help elevate the hype around his third album. He does have a team behind him making sure his music comes out at the perfect time. He did admit he was planning on releasing the singles and album earlier, but the album was delayed due to the press around the US presidential election and further delayed due to other huge pop stars releasing albums. In an effort to not be outshined again, like he was with Adele’s music before, it was carefully planned to make sure his album came out when no other major artists were releasing their albums.
 
Although Ed took the year off to recuperate after the whirlwind of 2015, the release date of his singles and album are not being left to chance. His team and himself have made sure that 2017 will be the year of Ed Sheeran. So whilst fans scramble for tickets next week and wait for his third album to be released in March, Ed tees up to take the music scene by storm once again. I for one cannot wait!