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Announcing Our 2016 Tiny Desk Contest

Have you ever watched a Tiny Desk Concert and thought, "Hey, I want to do that!?" Well, now's your chance to play behind my desk here at NPR. That's right: We're bringing NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest back for a second year.

Here's what you do.

  • Make a new video of an original song behind a desk of your choosing. It could be the desk at your office, your home or simply your vivid imagination. Last year, desks wound up on mountaintops and ocean bottoms. I'm looking for a great unknown artist, so if you already have a recording contract, you'll have to sit this one out.
  • Between Jan. 12 and Feb. 2, 2016, upload that video to YouTube and fill out our entry form, which will appear at on Jan. 12.
  • The winner of the contest will come to NPR to play an official Tiny Desk Concert and more. But the most important thing to do is to have fun with friends, get creative and make something you're proud of. Though last year's contest had only one grand prize winner (out of roughly 7,000 submissions!), I've spoken with hundreds of entrants who, despite not "winning," say they loved creating something they never would have made otherwise.

    This year, our judges are Dan Auerbach from The Arcs and The Black Keys, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig from Lucius, soul singer Son Little and All Songs Considered co-host Robin Hilton. (Oh, and me.) We are looking for great music — music you wrote, that's unique to you. We don't care if you shoot your video on a flip phone, though we do love to see creative adventures. (Last year's Tiny Desk Contest winner, Fantastic Negrito, filmed his video on an iPad in a freight elevator, with a sawhorse for a desk.)

    Lagunitas Brewing Company is a supporter of the contest, which is wonderful, but it also means that you have to be at least 21 to participate. Find all the rules for submission and everything else you need to know at, where you can also subscribe to our Tiny Desk Contest newsletter for updates and news from the Tiny Desk community.

    Now get out there and show us what you can do!

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.