Tiny Desk Contest FAQ

How do I know if I'm eligible to enter the Tiny Desk Contest?
To find out if you (or your video) are eligible to win the Contest, you can take the Tiny Desk Contest eligibility quiz.

Can I enter the contest with more than one band?
Yes. One artist may participate in multiple videos, either as a member of two or more distinct bands, or as both a solo artist and a member of a band. To avoid confusion, we suggest that the videos be submitted by different individuals. For instance, if you (Gram Parsons) are in both the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, have your bandmate David Crosby submit for the Byrds.

I entered the contest last year. Can I enter again this year?
Yes! We’d love for you to enter again. But...please make sure you create a new video for this year’s contest, featuring a different song. Entries that were submitted last year will not be considered this year. Check out the Official Rules for more details.

I’ve already recorded my song. Can I use that recording as the audio track and make my entry music-video style?
That’s up to you, but remember that when our judges watch your entry, they’ll be trying to get a sense for what your Tiny Desk performance might be like -- and a live performance video accomplishes that more effectively than a lip-synched music video.

You should also know that only the musicians in your video will be invited to perform if you win – so if it's just you in the video, it'll be just you at the Tiny Desk.

I have a contract with a tiny independent label. Can I enter the contest?
No. In order to be eligible to win the contest, you must not be signed to any current recording contract, big or small. You also can’t have any other commitment to a label that would restrict your right to participate in the contest.

Can I perform over a backing track?

Your video will still be eligible if you’re performing over pre-recorded music. However, if you usually play with a band (or prefer to play with one), please know that only the musicians in the winning video will be invited to perform at the Tiny Desk. If it’s just you in the video, it’ll just be you at the Tiny Desk.

Can I sample other musicians’ work in my original song?
No. Your submission cannot contain material that could violate intellectual property rights or that could be copyright infringement. Your video also shouldn’t feature any music that you did not originally write and perform. Unfortunately, sampling falls under these categories.

I’m not from the U.S., but I love NPR Music! Can I PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE enter?
No. While we love our musician friends around the world, the contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States or Washington, D.C. This applies to each member of your band.

Can I play more than one song as long as it fits within the 10-minute limit?
Nope. Your video has to show you performing one single song.

What if the entry form isn’t working.
Please make sure you’ve completed every required question on the form – you won’t be able to submit it if you’ve missed any required questions. If you’re still having trouble, please contact us with details about what happened when you tried to submit (provide a screenshot if you can) and what browser, browser version, and device you were using. This information will help us fix any bugs on our end.

There is a mistake in my video. Can I edit and re-submit?
Only one submission is allowed per entrant. If you need to re-submit because of a mistake, please contact us. We'll need you to provide the name of your song and the email address that you used.

Why don’t I see my video on the Tiny Desk Contest site?
Don’t panic! All videos go through a moderation process before they can appear on the entry-browsing page on our site. It may take a week or longer for your video to appear in the entry-browsing tool, even if it meets all the contest requirements. On the other hand, if we determine that an entry breaks one of the contest rules, it will be excluded from the site.