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Announcing The 2018 Tiny Desk Contest

It's time to crank up the amps, warm up the drum machines, dust off the sax (or whatever your instrument of choice is) and enter the Tiny Desk Contest.

When we started the contest in 2014, we did it for one simple reason: We love discovering new music. And since then, this contest has been an amazing way to do just that. I've been thrilled to discover new artists from around the country and hear some unforgettable music through your videos. I've even visited some of you on tour.

The biggest thrill has been seeing the impact on our three previous winners: Fantastic Negrito, Gaelynn Lea and Tank and the Bangas. Fantastic Negrito won a Grammy; Gaelynn Lea went on to play at renowned venues like the Kennedy Center; and Tank and the Bangas toured internationally and even headlined NPR Music's 10-year anniversary party.

So the time has come to do it again: The Tiny Desk Contest is back for 2018! Here's how you enter:

  • Make a video of you or your band, performing one original song at a desk (any desk). We want to hear the music that shows us the best of what you've got.
  • Send it to us. We'll be open for submissions starting Feb. 20 until March 25 at 11:59 pm EST.
  • That's it! It's not a complicated process, though there are a few rules to read. We want to hear from anyone with a song to share (and a desk, too).

    The winner of the contest will come to NPR headquarters to play their very own Tiny Desk concert. (We all teared up a bit during Tank and the Bangas' performance last year). Then, the winner will come on a tour of the U.S. with NPR Music and our sponsor, Lagunitas Brewing Company.

    We've got a wonderful panel of judges ready to hear your music this year. I'll be watching and listening, along with Robin Hilton, my co-host on All Songs Considered.We'll be joined by some of our favorite Tiny Desk alums: electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso; genre-defying singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno; and the magnetic Tarriona "Tank" Ball from Tank and the Bangas. Some friends from NPR Member stations will be judging, too: Talia Schlanger of WXPN's World Cafe, Toki Wright of Minnesota Public Radio's The Current and Russ Borris of WFUV.

    Every year, we look forward to finding that one special winner. But we also share and highlight many of the musicians who have entered the contest from all over the country. In fact, on our Tiny Desk Contest On The Road tour, we open each concert with performances by some our favorite artists from the cities and towns we visit. We share stories on the radio of artists who entered the contest. We use our newsletter and this blog to feature entries that we and NPR stations across the country love.

    We can't wait to hear from you. Let's make music together.

    Copyright 2020 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.