Japanese ambient musician Michiru Aoyama has woken at 5am to record a new album every day since 2021 – he's now earning $3,000 a month from his music on Spotify and Bandcamp

Michiru Aoyama
(Image credit: Michiru Aoyama / Instagram)

Kyoto ambient artist Michiru Aoyama has taken the phrase full-time musician to a different level since deciding to record and release an eight-track album every single day. And the 38-year-old has somehow stuck to his commitment since 2021.

“Writing a song is like keeping a diary,” he told The Guardian. “I disclose all the good memories and bad memories, and writing songs every day has become a fun routine.” As for quality control, he says: “It is a trial and error process, but I release it all, the good sound quality and the bad sound quality without any concealment.”  

Routine and process have unsurprisingly become essential – it's what Aoyama calls his "compositional mould" with his PRS McCarty electric guitar or Prophet-10 analogue synth running through a bank of effects to create his ambient pieces. And it's connected with listeners – around 200,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, increasing by around 400 every day. 

His volume of output has paid off too, as well it should with the workload involved – including around two hours every day to just upload the sound files. But his ambient style and obvious talent is very much suited to being included on the playlists that make the Spotify algorithm work in his favour. 

Now around 90% of his income is now derived from the Spotify playlists he features on with his prolific self-owned musical output, with the rest mostly generated via Bandcamp. 

But how does he keep it going every day?

Aoyama wakes at 5am every morning and starts composing his music between 6am and midday. He then takes a two-hour walk, eats and then composes again until 7pm before uploading the day's sound files for two hours. 

This has become such an integrated part of Aoyama's life since he left his full-time job to fully commit to music, the idea of stepping back from it feels completely alien to him now. 

“For me, writing songs is like brushing my teeth,” he told The Guardian. “So I would not feel comfortable stopping.”

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar. I've currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with my own songs and I am enjoying playing covers in function bands.