Celebrating 10 Years: iZotope’s Favorite Moments from NPR Music

November 29, 2017

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As you might guess, we’re obsessed with music here at iZotope. From critical listening sessions in our mastering studio to our impromptu jam sessions on the mezzanine, music plays an essential role in our everyday lives.

So when the opportunity to sponsor NPR Music’s 10th anniversary party arose, we were all over it.

To celebrate their anniversary, NPR Music is appropriately throwing a concert, which will take place on December 2 in Washington, D.C. at the 9:30 Club, and is sure to have an exceptional lineup (secrets abound).

In preparation for the party, we asked iZotope staff members to share their favorite moments and features of NPR music from their first 10 years in business, and why they’re so special.

1. Promoting local radio through Member Stations: AmericanaFest 2017

With over 900 Member Stations across the country, many of which are focused on delivering music programming, NPR anchors communities.

But NPR Music doesn’t just make an impact across the airwaves; time and time again, they support communities by sponsoring in-person events like concerts and community gatherings.

When we ran into them at the 2017 AmericanaFest, we were blown away by the range of coverage NPR Music was providing, including in-depth conversations with Americana artists about identity and culture.

2. Recording anywhere: Field Recordings

A bay outside of Far Rockaway, Queens; the colorful streets of Austin; a hair salon in Puerto Rico. Through their Field Recordings series, NPR Music records musicians “out of the concert hall and off the beaten path.”

Recording anywhere is in Spire’s DNA, and it’s in NPR Music’s, too.

3. Being everywhere that matters: Front Row

Offering live streams of shows from cozy clubs to the biggest music festivals in the country, NPR Music is seemingly at every concert that matters (and willing to share them with the world). Since we can’t be at every show, we’re thankful NPR Music makes it easy to tune in.

4. Performing at the White House: Tiny Desk

Common’s Tiny Desk concert in the White House library was about more than a change of scenery. It was a powerful performance, tackling social injustices ingrained in our country’s complicated history, and commemorated our nation’s first African American president as his second term was set to end.

5. Taking aim: Slingshot

NPR Music has upped the ante on introducing emerging artists to the world. Doubling down on new talent, their Slingshot series invites up-and-coming artists to participate in interviews and performances through Member Stations.

As a proud sponsor of emerging artists and the Slingshot series, we like what we see so far! Here’s to more music from artists like Jamila Woods, Big Thief, and Lo Moon getting heard.

6. Moonwalking with Michael: thoughtful eulogies

When the world mourned the King of Pop’s unexpected death in 2009, NPR Music was there to provide thoughtful commentary.

With eulogies like “Michael Jackson Dances On In Our Memory” and discussions with fellow musician Lenny Kravitz about how Michael Jackson changed music forever, we were back to moonwalking a little bit sooner.

7. Sneaking a peek: First Listen

We’re always searching for new music at iZotope, and NPR’s First Listen is our go-to series to hear albums from front to back before they’re released. Whether it’s an upcoming album from a classic artist or a fresh face, we look to First Listen to expand our playlists with great new music.

8. Keeping it real: best-of lists

These days, everyone publishes a “best song of the year” listicle. Most are Billboard clones or prescriptive, “take-it-or-leave it” lists. Not the case for NPR Music.

Flexing their curatorial muscles, NPR serves theirs with a dose of reality as to what a best-of list should be. They write:

"Rather than attempt to come to a consensus about the best albums or songs from the first six months of the year, we opted to select music that was meaningful to us as individuals, music that washed away all the background noise, songs and albums and performances that made sense to us, whether or not they made sense of the world."

So check out “NPR Music's Essential Songs, Albums, Performances And Videos Of 2017 (So Far).”

9. Pushing creative limits: Project Song

NPR Music is not just a team of editorial masterminds, they’re a creative force.

Take Project Song, an NPR series that gives musicians 48 hours to write and record a song. In one of the best efforts to date, Moby and collaborator Kelli Scarr penned three versions of the song “Gone to Sleep.”

10. Making public radio cool: George Clinton and Killer Mike

Who else gets George Clinton and Killer Mike to have a conversation in a barbershop? Enough said.

Celebrating 10 Years: iZotope’s Favorite Moments from NPR Music