Bob Boilen: NPR Tiny Desk Concerts


NPR Tiny Desk Concerts is an intimate performance held in Washington D.C. by your latest and greatest performers, it is considered a great honor to perform on the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series for any artist looking to go public. From The Roots, to Tyler The Creator, to Yo Yo MA, Tiny Desk covers it all.

“It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery.”  Bob Boilen – 18-year director of NPR Tiny Desk series.

Tiny Desk Concerts series started by way of the man of those wise words: Bob Boilen, a once eager young man trying to make his way into the NPR music headquarters.

Boilen came to NPR with humbled beginnings in 1988, he showed up at the office every day –unemployed- in hopes of being their next great employee. A month of persistency and grit paid off. Bob was granted the temporary work assignment of All Things Considered.

All Things Considered is a caveat NPR news program admitted May 3, 1971. The program, along with NPR’s Morning program, was the highest rated radio news program in the U.S. in 2002 and 2005.

After heeding All Things Considered, Boilen moved on to start the Tiny Desk Concerts series in which he was appointed Director. Boilen was the director of Tiny Desk Concerts for 18 years and his vision is as apparent as ever today.

The web is a hub for music and YouTube is at the epicenter of that hub. Running small intimate concerts in their Washington offices allows viewers not only to witness something divine, but also cause great envy to the employees and their benefits. Each performance is published on YouTube thereafter.

NPR Tiny Desk Concerts has now launched a competitive program. All eligible U.S. citizens including and limited to the district of Columbia, over the age of 21, can submit a portfolio to the headquarters for a chance to either;

1.) Perform on set at the Washington office

2.) Perform live at the Bell House in Brooklyn or

3.) Perform an 8-show tour from Denver to Washington to Chicago to Minneapolis to New York to Philadelphia to Seattle.


This event is sponsored by NPR Tiny Desk Concerts (the “contest”), a District of Columbia nonprofit organization and Lagunitas Brewing Company. The eighth show tour will be at all Lagunitas Brewing factories in the participating cities listed above.

“Music can act as an invisible uniting force that claims the unclaimed and defines the outcasts of a culture.” Boilen from his book, Your Song Changed My Life.

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