I deleted this post because, in retrospect, it could easily be construed as an attack on Eleanor Careless, which was unfair.
My intent was for it to serve as a caution to PR/marketing professionals who might consider promoting their artist by denigrating the rest of the field. It was not intended as a warning to journalists that a band of angry pedants awaits anybody who tries to write something nice about a violinist. That doesn’t do anybody any good at all, and “older guy shouts down young woman for voicing an opinion on the Internet” is, I think we can all agree, not a great look, regardless of the motivation.
Of course we need to be able to talk about what is and isn’t true, but being enthusiastically rude about it is a rhetorical device best saved for the people who are really asking for it.
If you find yourself looking for freely available data on music and entertainment sales and popularity, I recommend:
BPI Awards Search – Look up gold and platinum albums/singles in the UK.
RIAA Database – Look up gold and platinum albums in the US
IFPI – Publishes data on global recorded music sales
Nielsen Soundscan – Publishes a useful annual and mid-year report on US record sales
Billboard – US charts based on a mixture of sales and airplay
OCC – UK charts
Grammy Winners Search – Look up an artist or album to see what they’ve won
Wikipedia’s top-selling lists are a good starting point, because they reference a large number of sources for reliable sales data.
Box Office Mojo – US cinema box office receipts
Playbill.com – Broadway receipts