Affordable price, social media tools for exposure and multiple platforms make it the method of choice for new age young musicians rather than waiting to be signed up by record labels.
One such solution is using Rebeat. This is what they offer.
Software: one-time EUR 99/-
Uploads: one-time EUR 1/- per song, giving you temporally unlimited storage space on our server.
No additional monthly or yearly fees!
When using the REBEAT Digital soft ware, a worldwide and temporally unlimited digital release of an album incl. e.g. 12 tracks costs only EUR 12/-.
Another solution which is targeting the largely untapped Indian market is ArtistAloud.
Every download, every hit and every bit of progress, regardless of how minuscule it is, might serve as the building block for your leap. Who knows, you might just be the "Next BIG star".
Caveat - if you have always dreamed of getting signed by a major label, be aware that when you self release an album, a label might hesitate to release that album in the future. (I used "might" because if you are spectacularly good, labels will be behind you to cut a deal.) The reason the labels hesitate is that if you have already gotten social media attention for your creations, the labels will be unable to re-promote them.
Solution - Keeping at the back of your mind that you wish to get signed by a label; when you self release an album, consider:
1) Holding back some of your songs OR
2) continuing to compose and record new songs while you are working your release.
This way, you make a case to the label that they have something brand new to work with.
While statistics and history indicate that self releasing your album is unlikely to bring you international stardom; if you have heart, dedication, means and patience to treat it like a stepping stone towards something bigger, it can pay off for you down the line.