What 'All Songs Considered' Sounded Like 20 Years Ago : All Songs Considered Hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton look back at the first year of the program, which turns 20 years old this month.

On January 3, 2000, All Songs Considered became National Public Radio's first online-only program. The show's origins came from the interest of those little music snippets played between news stories. As director of All Things Considered at the time, choosing those music "buttons" was Bob Boilen's job. The amount of mail that came his way inquiring about those buttons was astonishing. It just seemed our audience was starved for new and exciting music, and so began our journey.

On this episode of All Songs Considered, we listen back to some of the early music we played on the program. We'll paint a picture of what it was like to connect to the internet in the year 2000, how we choked people's bandwidth by producing a multimedia show filled with not only music but photographs and text. We'll also look at what it meant for NPR to take a chance on doing "a music show for your computer" in the days before iPods, iTunes and YouTube. At the time, when it came to music, the internet was mostly used to download songs illegally so you could burn a CD.
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What 'All Songs Considered' Sounded Like 20 Years Ago

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What 'All Songs Considered' Sounded Like 20 Years Ago

What 'All Songs Considered' Sounded Like 20 Years Ago

What 'All Songs Considered' Sounded Like 20 Years Ago

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/794032826/794167119" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A screenshot of the first All Songs Considered web site, promoting NPR's "Online Music Show," which was initially in mono-only (to accommodate dial-up connections) and a multimedia show with slides and text available only in Real Audio and Windows Media. NPR hide caption

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All Songs Considered is now twenty years old! On January 3, 2000, All Songs Considered became National Public Radio's first online-only program. The show's origins came from the interest of those little music snippets played between news stories. As director of All Things Considered at the time, choosing those music "buttons" was my job. The amount of mail that came my way inquiring about those buttons was astonishing. It just seemed to me that our audience was starved for new and exciting music, and so began our journey.

On this episode of All Songs Considered, we listen back to some of the early music we played on the program. We'll paint a picture of what it was like to connect to the internet in the year 2000, how we choked people's bandwidth by producing a multimedia show filled with not only music but photographs and text. We'll also look at what it meant for NPR to take a chance on doing "a music show for your computer" in the days before iPods, iTunes and YouTube. At the time, when it came to music, the internet was mostly used to download songs illegally so you could burn a CD. -- Bob Boilen

Our First Show (Excerpt):

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