Within the mainstream
music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels provide
publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.
But an increasing number of artists have sought to avoid costs and gain new audiences via the Internet, often with the help of
videos. Combined with the decline in album sales and rapid growth in free content available online, this has changed the way the industry works dramatically since the beginning of the 21st century. It has caused record labels to seek new sources of profit, in particular via "360" deals (see below, under "new label strategies").