Tiny Desk Concert Contest – Open for Submissions


It’s that time of the year again, NPR is accepting submissions for their Tiny Desk Concert Contest. This is one of the biggest, friendliest, simplest, most supportive contests out there for independent artists. You should do it.


npr tiny desk


All you have to do is submit a video of you playing one original song (with a desk). Entries range form bedroom iPhone shots, to creative and well executed ideas. You can make it as tricked out or simple as you want. If you win you get to film your own Tiny Desk Concert in Washington, DC, and go on a nationwide tour with NPR Music.

Why should you submit?

A reason to release.

This is the perfect opportunity to post a video of you performing your music. As artists we get in ruts and neglect to put out our music and media. More often than not, we need that push, that reason, that deadline to light the fire underneath. When’s the last time you uploaded something on YouTube? You don’t have a YouTube?! What a great excuse to make one and show of your stuff.

Get inspired.

All the submissions are posted online once submitted. Browse them here. Warning: this could lead to hours of scattered Internet scrolling, article reading, and SoundCloud stalking. Get inspired by all the sounds, textures and lyrics that your fellow musicians have created. Watching all the talented musicians out there reminds me of a quote: “Somewhere out there someone is working harder than you… and when you meet on the field of battle, you’re gonna lose.” Seeing all the talented and driven musicians are out there should be a little reminder of the hustle you’ve gotta be hustlin’.

Be unique.

Most of the submissions are acoustic. But we all know our computers are the most super instrument of all. Show the world the musical boundaries you’re pushing. Film a song that would confuse your grandparents. If you haven’t yet gotten into performing with Ableton Live, maybe now’s the time to try it out.

Be creative.

There are many, many ways to get creative with this, since there are basically no rules. Performing in a tree? Do it. A storage container (like 2015’s winner Fantastic Negrito)? Do it. Take one of your electro songs and make an acoustic arrangement. Gather friends and instruments and pets and go to a place you’ve never been. Get silly with it. Like this one in an office, and this… well you’ll have to see for yourself.


You have until January 29th to submit your video. If you’re reading this on January 29th, it’s not too late! Last year I found out about the contest the morning it was do. I quickly hustled (it helped that my roommate was a cinematographer) and it had been uploaded by night. You can check it out below.

If you do make a Tiny Desk Concert Contest video, do make sure to let one of the Beat Lab folks know so we can show you off in our newsletter. Oh, and you get extra credit if you collab with another Beat Lab student in the vid.

Carpe Deskum, folks!


Have fun checking out some of last year’s goodies.

“Fool’s Gold” by me, Lillian Frances.

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“WAKE” by Manatee Commune.

[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qdtVdqbenw” showinfo=”no” rel=”no” modestbranding=”yes” https=”yes”][su_video url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjb4U-cUGSE”][/su_youtube_advanced]


“Control” by Wesley Jensen & The Penny Arcade.

[su_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVeQGIQBL4Q” showinfo=”no” rel=”no” modestbranding=”yes” https=”yes”][su_video url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fjb4U-cUGSE”][/su_youtube_advanced]


“Blue Sky” by Buffalo Rodeo.

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