Influencers Extend Reach for NPR Music Sponsor State Farm

October 2021

In the ever-evolving social media landscape, NPR has unique opportunities to engage with existing fans and encourage new audiences to discover its content. NPR Music and National Public Media (NPM), with support from lead sponsor State Farm, utilized the popular Tiny Desk Contest series to create NPR’s first-ever influencer marketing campaign. In an effort to bring new and diverse audiences to NPR Music’s content, National Public Media used the scale and reach of content creators to bring new exposure to the Tiny Desk Contest series and artists who have entered the Contest, as well as showcase State Farm’s support.

Tiny Desk Contest Meets Content Creators

NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest gives one unsigned artist a chance to play at the iconic Tiny Desk, usually followed by a national live tour. Amidst the pandemic in 2020, NPR Music pivoted to video with Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf, a new weekly virtual event series that highlights the judges’ favorite entries from the year’s Tiny Desk Contest.

In 2021, the team went bigger, working with content creators and fan-favorite influencers who posted about their top three favorite entries from 2021’s Contest, just like the judges on Top Shelf. Influencers such as KevOnStage and Taylor Pierce, shared their top entries and what they love about them, and encouraged their followers to engage with the Contest entries to find their own favorite songs. The content was tailored to the specific audience of each influencer and the interests of their followers, giving entrants of the Tiny Desk Contest exposure to audiences beyond the NPR Music spotlight, and allowing Tiny Desk Contest sponsor State Farm the ability to align with the content.

Reach and Audience Reception


total views across influencer posts to date


total accounts reached to date


Tiny Desk Contest entrants featured in influencer content

Comments from Fans and Tiny Desk Contest Entrants

“Love that you’ve given these artists exposure to a new audience, they are brilliant.”

“This is very cool of you. What a beautiful thing it is to open doors for others…”

Tiny Desk Contest Influencer Campaign

Sponsor Alignment

State Farm, the exclusive 2021 sponsor, also got in on the fun with brand personality Jake from State Farm creating a YouTube playlist of his favorite Tiny Desk Contest entries, which he shared with his 124K+ Instagram and Twitter followers. State Farm worked with NPM Creative to amplify Jake from State Farm’s playlist on NPR utilizing State Farm’s banner inventory to create a custom Center Stage unit on and the Tiny Desk Contest site.

Amplifying the Tiny Desk Contest Winner with Content Creators

The influencer campaign concluded with the announcement of Neffy as the 2021 Tiny Desk Contest. NPR Music and NPM selected two duos, TwinsthenewTrend and BROTHER, known for their live reaction videos, to get their take on Neffy’s winning entry and sharing her music with their collective 2.4M+ followers.

Want to learn more about how your brand can align with NPR Music or industry influencers to extend your campaign?

Contact Us