NPR Tiny Desk Concerts: The Perfect Live Substitute


Everyone is missing live gigs. Whether it be fans, those who work as crew on live tours, or the artists themselves, the global-wide lockdown over the past few months has left a lot of people jobless and without sufficient entertainment opportunities. Millions of gigs have been cancelled and postponed and the entertainments industry has taken a real hit. What’s so great about 2020, though, is the facilities that we all have available at the touch of our smart phones and computer screens.

NPR Tiny Desk Concerts is a series held on YouTube by NPR Music, a non-profit membership media organisation founded in 2007. Over the years, they have had a huge range of artists on the channel, both big and small. Mac Miller, Taylor Swift, Lizzo and Harry Styles are among the big pop stars they’ve featured, whilst smaller artists like Declan McKenna and Tamino have also taken centre stage.

What’s so unique about this live series is not just that the artists perform their most popular songs acoustically (which always sounds fantastic), but because of its homely setting. No blinding spot-lights, backing dancers, or autotune can be seen or heard, as the artist or band perform in front of a crowded book-case and surrounded by office supplies.

NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Series is the perfect substitute to live gigs, as it offers something different than most other acoustic/live sessions available online. It offers an up close and personal experience with fans and artists through the screen, as artists are stripped back completely without their usual fancy backgrounds. Placed in an environment familiar to most viewers, the artists become a stripped-down version of what they usually portray themselves as on stage and are entirely humanised.

With Covid-19 restrictions, the series has had to adapt. Whilst artists are not currently performing in front of the iconic book-case decorated in tiny ornaments, they are performing from home in the revised ‘Tiny Desk (Home) Concert’ series. These are just as effective, and well worth your time to watch.

Watch Tyler, The Creator’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert below, and be sure to check out their channel to watch many more artists’ performances.


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Live Editor 2019/20 & third year English student. Probably watching Gilmore Girls

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