The internet has taken much of the heartache of rejection away from budding artists. In the past a new artist had to go through many years of rejection from numerous studios before they hit it big. But now with YouTube and similar sites, it is easy for artists to get exposure and become popular.
Since getting popular is easier now, how does an artist monetize that? Well in the event that you are still not big enough to be picked up by a recording label, you can go ahead and sell your material to the fan base that you have built up.
There are many services online that will do all the dirty work of distribution for you. All you have to do is search for them. These services require only a nominal payment, usually under $100 to set up and distribute your album across a wide variety of online vendors (like iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody etc). Since they have deals with the vendors, they require no further
The vendors themselves will not charge you anything; rather they will take a cut off the sale price (usually around 30 %). The balance amount comes straight to you.
This is currently the best method available to new artists who want monetize their efforts. You could always sell the material off your own website, but the hassle and cost involved with getting that underway is phenomenal when compared to these easy distribution services. But as always, do not pick the first service you see, research them well and pick the one that gives you the most benefits.