NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest Returns January 2017 NPR Music kicks off third nationwide search for unsigned artists on Friday, January 13, 2017.
NPR logo NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest Returns January 2017

NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest Returns January 2017

December 13, 2016; Washington, D.C. - NPR Music is at it again with a call for unsigned musicians of all genres: Show us why you should perform in NPR Music's iconic Tiny Desk concert series by submitting an original video of you or your band playing behind a desk of your choosing. The winner of the Contest will secure a spot at the legendary performance space and a U.S. tour with NPR Music, fueled by Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Bands and musicians can submit video entries to NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest from Jan. 13-29, 2017 at See complete rules for entry.

Over the past two years of the Tiny Desk Contest, NPR Music has seen thousands of entries from all 50 states, and has furthered its mission as a platform for music discovery. After playing the Tiny Desk, the winners have seen tremendous success playing renowned venues across the world, including Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center and the Royal Albert Hall. 2016 winner Gaelynn Lea is currently on her first European tour, and 2015 winner Fantastic Negrito was just nominated for his first Grammy.

"This Contest has brought out the creatives in our country," says All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen, who developed NPR Music's Tiny Desk concert series in 2008. "Over the last two years, the Contest has celebrated the vibrant music community. I simply can't wait to see and hear what we get in this year."

For the third year, Lagunitas Brewing Company has provided exclusive support for the Tiny Desk Contest.

The winner will also perform at a live taping of NPR's Ask Me Another, and will go on a national tour with NPR Music, NPR Member stations and Lagunitas as part of the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road live event series. The winner will perform with local Contest entrants at Lagunitas Taprooms in Azusa, Calif.; Chicago, Ill. (WBEZ); Portland, Ore. (opbmusic); Petaluma, Calif. (KQED and KRCB); Charleston, S.C. (South Carolina Public Radio) and their new partner Independence Brewing in Austin, TX (KUTX). The Tiny Desk Contest On The Road series taking place in April and May will also include celebrations of local talent in Philadelphia, Pa. (WXPN); Seattle, Wash. (KEXP); New York, N.Y. (WFUV); and Nashville, Tenn. (WMOT and WPLN).

This year, NPR Music has chosen legendary Tiny Desk alumni to judge the Contest. R&B crooner Miguel, glam-punk rocker Ben Hopkins of PWR BTTM, gospel-tinged R&B singer Anthony Hamilton, electropop singer BANKS and jam band icon Trey Anastasio of Phish will all be reviewing submissions to find artists they love.

The judging panel is rounded out by three NPR Member station tastemakers including WFUV Program Director Rita Houston in New York City, World Cafe contributing host Talia Schlanger from WXPN in Philadelphia and hip-hop DJ and musician Stas THEE Boss at KEXP in Seattle. NPR Music's Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton of All Songs Considered return for their third year as judges.

Though there is one winner every year, artists have benefited from joining the Tiny Desk Contest community — whether they're featured on the Tiny Desk Contest's music discovery Tumblr, the weekly newsletter with thousands of subscribers, one of the Tiny Desk supercut videos, one of the local tour stops, or even a Tiny Desk concert down the line.

Musicians interested in entering NPR Music's 2017 Tiny Desk Contest must play one original song at a desk (any desk - get creative), upload a video of the performance to YouTube and submit with the entry form at NPR Music welcomes music from all genres and entrants from previous years are encouraged to participate again this round with new material. Artists must be at least 21 years old and live in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia to enter. The winning artist(s) must be available to travel to Washington, D.C., between March 6 and 8, 2017, to record their Tiny Desk performance at NPR Headquarters and able to go on tour in spring 2017. See complete rules for entry.

Since its launch in 2008, nearly 600 performances have been recorded at the Tiny Desk, Boilen's festive workspace at NPR Headquarters adorned with years of music mementos and memorabilia. The series has provided a stage for artists from across the genre spectrum and at every phase of their careers — pop balladeer Adele, R&B sensation (with or without the Auto-Tune) T-Pain, Latin icon Carrie Rodriguez, pensive singer-songwriter Julien Baker, jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton, genre-busting drummer and rapper Anderson .Paak, blues hitmaker William Bell, country singer Margo Price, classic rocker Graham Nash, inventive violinist Rachel Barton Pine and even the Blue Man Group.

An archive of the entire series is available at, YouTube and on Roku via the free, HD-quality Tiny Desk Concerts channel.

About NPR Music

NPR Music collaborates with NPR's newsmagazines, public radio Member stations and the passionate NPR community to celebrate great music in every genre. Visit to find the complete Tiny Desk Concerts series, live music, extensive archives of performances, interviews and reviews of artists from all genres.

About Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas Brewing Company began on a kitchen stove in Northern California in 1993. From actually getting beers into bottles and onto the streets, Lagunitas looks to the future... From expanding the Petaluma Brewery to building a second in Chicago and soon a third in Azusa CA, adding TapRooms in both Charleston and Seattle to bringing its flagship IPA across the pond, Lagunitas could probably make good beer on the Moon. Wherever you go, beer speaks, people mumble. More mumblings at

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