Ed Sheeran & Beyonce's 'Perfect' Tops Billboard Hot 100
"Perfect," released on Atlantic Records (and the 1,069th No. 1 in the Hot 100's history, which dates to its Aug. 4, 1958, launch), was first released as a solo song by Sheeran on his album ÷ (Divide), which debuted atop the Billboard 200 dated March 25. On Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. ET, the new duet version was released, hours before the end of the sales and streaming tracking week. In its first full tracking week, ending Dec. 7, the song sold 181,000 downloads, up 202 percent, according to Nielsen Music, as it spends a second week at No. 1 on the Digital Song Sales chart.
Plus, as the duet version accounts for 63 percent of the song's total sales for the week, Beyoncé has been added on the Hot 100 (and related charts) as a co-lead artist on "Perfect." (For chart purposes, both versions of "Perfect" contribute to the song's singular listing on the Hot 100.)
"Perfect" flies 11-3 on the Streaming Songs chart with 34.9 million U.S. streams, up 87 percent, in the tracking week ending Dec. 7, while, on Radio Songs, it pushes 4-3 (102 million in audience, up 14 percent, in the week ending Dec. 10).
Sheeran scores his second Hot 100 No. 1, after Divide lead single "Shape of You" debuted atop the chart dated Jan. 28 and ruled for 12 weeks. Beyoncé earns her sixth Hot 100 No. 1 as a soloist (in addition to four as a member of Destiny's Child) and her first in nine years, since "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" reigned for four weeks beginning Dec. 13, 2008.
Having waited two weeks shy of nine years between Hot 100 No. 1s, Beyonce ends the longest break between leaders since Sean Paul went 10 years and four months between "Temperature" in 2006 and "Cheap Thrills," by Sia featuring Paul, in 2016.
"Perfect" topping the Hot 100 following the addition of Beyoncé marks the second instance this year of a high-profile star joining a song that had already charted in its original version and then hit No. 1. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" reached an initial No. 44 high in April; once Justin Bieber was added as a featured artist, the song soared 48-9 on the May 6-dated chart before spending a record-tying 16 weeks at No. 1.
While "Despacito" topped the Hot 100 in its fourth week after the arrival of the Bieber version, "Perfect" is the first song to hit No. 1 following a first full tracking week after the addition of a guest since Kendrick Lamar joined Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood," which blasted 53-1 on the Hot 100 dated June 6, 2015, after the collab's release (including its all-star video, which premiered to kick off the 2015 Billboard Music Awards).
One more note related to Sheeran and Beyoncé's "Perfect" harmony: the pair combines for the first Hot 100 No. 1 of the 2010s credited equally to a solo male and female. No such song had led since, coincidentally, Beyoncé's husband, JAY-Z, and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind," which ruled for five weeks beginning Nov. 28, 2009.