National Public Radio is a non-profit media organization and a familiar stand-by in classic radio. Since its founding by Bill Siemering in 1970, NPR now serves as a national syndicate for a network of around 900 public radio stations in the United States. NPR produces and distributes all kinds of programming, including two of the most popular radio programs in the country: Morning Edition and All Things Considered. NPR Music is a subsidiary of NPR, available through the online NPR platform and various apps. NPR Music differs from other online music services because it syndicates hundreds of public music stations across the United States, rather than aggregating company-owned stations.
NPR Music is among the oldest radio establishment in the United States. During its time as a radio syndicate, the company has developed extensive musical offerings:
- While the website accepts donations, NPR's music streaming service is completely free.
- Users may sign in with Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Disqus and share their discoveries with friends online.
- NPR Music offers unparalleled access to new audio content. NPR Music includes a weekly talk show about recent developments in the music industry, called "All Songs Considered." The show features video performances recorded live in the NPR studio, a handpicked selection of new music videos, and "puzzlers" that test listeners' music knowledge. In a segment called "First Listen," users can stream upcoming albums in their entirety.
- Aside from All Songs Considered, NPR also features the following public radio music shows: Alt.Latino, Fresh Air Interviews, From the Top, Jazz Night in America, Metropolis, Microphone Check, Mountain Stage, Piano Jazz, Song Travels, The Thistle and Shamrock, and World Café.
- In addition to its own programming, NPR offers a collection of radio stations from around the country. They are listed in a simple directory, categorized according to genre.
- The NPR Music website features extensive music reviewing, all available to stream. The NPR Music website also features a variety of music writing, including articles, interviews, quizzes, and "Best Of" lists.
- Thanks to unique audio engineering, all NPR stations feature the same, crisp sound, frequently described throughout the industry as NPR's "secret sauce." NPR's audio quality is among the best available.
- As one of the oldest, best-established radio services available, NPR is extremely consistent in its programming. There are few surprises.
- NPR offers a weekly digest email, with new content.
The Bottom Line
NPR's syndication gives it access to near endless music, and the NPR Music program is among the most comprehensive available online. NPR's music service is ideal for anyone with broad tastes, affection for classic radio, and the patience to navigate countless studio recordings and artist interviews. The service is not in any way personalized, and it isn't well suited to those with specific tastes, nor is it suited for those who prefer music without extensive commentary. NPR Music doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is, but what it is isn't ideal for everyone.