Chances are, you’ve already met NPR Music on your travels. From their excellent programs like All Songs Considered to their wonderful First Listen series, NPR Music is an amazing repository of live, archived, and upcoming music. You can find weeks’ worth of live concerts, in-studio recordings, music previews, and more. And best of all, it’s free. At least, to listen. You all know the deal: Public Radio is funded by listeners like you, and, in today’s corporate-dominated environment, independent music is an even more precious commodity than it used to be.
Of course, I’m not here to tell you what to spend your money on… oh, wait, that’s exactly what I’m here for. But I’ll tell you what: I think that NPR Music is quite possibly the most important music program in the industry. Yeah, there, I said it. Without it, I would have never met Joanna Newsom, The Mountain Goats, or even Vic Chesnutt. So, for me, it’s special. I’d like to show you around some of my favorite bits of the site, and invite you to head on over and become a part of all the wonderful things they do. Follow me!
So, let’s start with the source: All Songs Considered. This is a weekly music program that you can stream or download in podcast form, which features new music, reviews, and even Guest DJs (I’ve heard Björk and John Lydon, recently). Hosted by Bob Boilen, with a number of recurring guests, the show pulls together music from all over the world – mixing the celebrated and the unknown with equal care and attention. Here’s a recent episode that shows off some of that eclectic programming:
You can subscribe to the podcast here.
One of the other great features of All Songs Considered is the Tiny Desk Concert series. These are filmed in the office, and are usually intimate, informal, and even impromptu glimpses into the music of artists from all over. There are so very many to see on the site (and of slightly higher quality), but here are three great ones for you:
One more thing to show you, and there are so many that I’m leaving out (Second Stage downloads, Song of the Day, Classical Concerts) is Project Song. It’s one of those simple, awesome ideas that leads to some great results. Basically, artists are given 48 hours to write, record, and perform a brand new song. Watch this recent clip of Moby and Kelli Scarr, and then go download the song for free.
And hey, if you feel like donating a little bit to NPR: visit here.