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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!

Since its inception in 2014, the Tiny Desk Contest has brought together thousands of artists and groups across music genres and hometowns. The concept is simple: unsigned bands and musicians are invited to film themselves performing an original song at a desk of their choice. NPR assembles a panel of judges to choose one grand prize winner. In addition to playing an NPR Tiny Desk concert, the winner headlines a U.S. tour featuring other standout musicians from the Contest community.

NPR is currently accepting entries through February 21, 2024.

Contest winners have gone on to sign with major labels, open for legendary performers, and even receive Grammy awards. To support artists navigating their newfound fame, and in conjunction with the Contest’s 10th anniversary, NPR will pair the winner with an industry mentor who will offer guidance on creating a sustainable musical career.

KSMU's Jessica Balisle spoke with NPR's Bobby Carter about the 2024 Contest. You can listen to their conversation HERE.

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 and Instagram accounts throughout the month of April. In addition, select local entrants will be invited to participate in KSMU’s Tiny Desk Contest Showcase at Mother's Brewing Company on June 22, 2024.

“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 staff will screen all entries for a social media feature and select artists for the KSMU Tiny Desk Contest Showcase.

How to Enter the Tiny Desk Contest

To enter NPR Music's 2024 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 which is adorned with years of music mementos and memorabilia. Tiny Desk concerts attract more than 7.5 million online viewers each month and continue 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.