Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Tiny Desk Contest


Emerging musicians: Think you've got what it takes to perform at the iconic Tiny Desk? If so, NPR and KSMU want to hear from you!

Over the past five years, nearly 30,000 musicians from across all 50 states have submitted their videos to NPR's Tiny Desk Contest in the hopes of being chosen to perform as part of NPR Music's signature music discovery series. Now, NPR is once again calling for unsigned bands and musicians to submit their entries at NPR is currently accepting entries through the new extended deadline of April 27.

The winner will perform at the Tiny Desk at NPR's Washington, D.C. HQ and embark on a national tour with NPR Music in partnership with NPR Member stations. Though there can only be one yearly grand prize winner, submitting artists benefit from joining the Tiny Desk Contest community — whether they're featured on NPR Music's All Songs Considered blog, in a Tiny Desk supercut video, on NPR's newsmagazines, in the Tiny Desk Contest newsletter, or at one of the stops on the Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour.

"The Tiny Desk has become a bucket-list destination for musicians all over the world," said Bob Boilen, creator of the Tiny Desk series. "The Tiny Desk Contest gives some great unknown talent the chance to fulfill their dream and change the course of their life."

KSMU to Celebrate Local Tiny Desk Contest Participants

Ozarks Public Radio is planning some local initiatives to feature local musicians participating in NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. Local entries will be featured on KSMU’s Facebook page throughout the month of April. In addition, select local participants will be invited to participate in KSMU’s Local Showcase, Featuring Favorites From NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest at Tie & Timber Beer Co. on May 29, 2020.

“KSMU is committed to sharing local music with our community,” said Jessica Balisle, host of KSMU’s live music show Studio Live. “We are lucky to have a rich music scene in the Ozarks and we’re excited to showcase local talent in the Tiny Desk Contest. It’s a great opportunity for musicians to be recognized locally and nationally.”

To be considered for these local showcase opportunities, musicians must enter the national Tiny Desk Contest by the submission deadline (see below for details). A committee of KSMU radio hosts will screen all entries for a social media feature and select artists for the KSMU Tiny Desk Showcase.

How to Enter the Tiny Desk Contest

To enter NPR Music's 2020 Tiny Desk Contest, unsigned musicians must play one original song at a desk (any desk — free range to be creative here!), upload a video of the performance to YouTube and submit with a completed entry form at NPR Music welcomes music from all genres and entrants from previous years with new material. Artists must be at least 18 years old and live in the 50 United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands or the District of Columbia to enter. Please see complete rules for entry.

About Tiny Desk Concerts

Since the launch of the Tiny Desk concert series in 2008, more than 900 performances have been recorded at the Tiny Desk — Bob Boilen's festive workspace at NPR headquarters — which is adorned with years of music mementos and memorabilia. Tiny Desk concerts attract more than 7.5 million online viewers each month and continues to unify a passionate community around the love of music discovery.

About NPR Music

For more than a decade, NPR Music's robust music journalism and award-winning original video programming has delighted millions of music fans from all genres. NPR Music collaborates with NPR's news magazines, public radio Member stations and the passionate listener community to celebrate exceptional music and discover emerging artists. Visit to find the complete Tiny Desk concert series, music feature stories, extensive archives of performances, interviews and music reviews.