Unless you have a Dark Side of the Moon statement to make, you don’t need to create an album. Spend your resources on creating a great song and a great video and get it out. Fans expect music so much more regularly now than they did 10 years ago. If you don’t continue the engagement and continue to feed them musically, they will move on.
Yes, artists still tour on albums. For one, it gives reviewers something fresh to talk about and the old guard still understands “album campaigns.” But there’s no need to create a full-length album unless you truly have a statement to make. So don’t stress yourself out about building the funds for a full-length album.
How often should you be releasing music? That depends on a lot of factors. If you make electronic music in your bedroom and primarily use SoundCloud to distribute it, then you should be releasing a new song every month. If you’re a full band and require a studio for every recording, you should still release a new song every month, but maybe a studio recording just every three months. You can release live versions, demos, and covers (on less formal platforms like SoundCloud, Bandcamp and YouTube) in between the official studio releases.
Many YouTubers release a song a week. Sure, many of these are covers, but the most successful YouTubers make every single release sound superpro. They have their writing, arranging, recording, filming, and release workflow down to a science.