It's a series that started on the music program, All Songs Considered. ASC host Bob Boilen started recording concerts at the 9:30 club in Washington D.C. and started a podcast to broadcast the recordings, promoting it on All Songs Considered. I couldn't find a lot of information about the middle of this endeavor but my guess is, the podcast became really popular and BAM Tiny Desk Concert! Instead of just recording other shows in D.C., why not bring musicians to NPR to record a concert of their own? Makes sense to me.
Here's a list of all the Tiny Desk Concerts you can ogle at on YouTube. SO. MANY. My favorites have got to be Macklemore, Hozier, The Civil Wars, Frank Turner and of course, Valerie June, whose Tiny Desk Concert I've already posted on this blog.
Even if you don't know the artist being showcased, it's also a great way to expose yourself to new music. And not only that, you get to see how they perform live (maybe more important for a new artist than how they sound on the recording). They usually run about 12-15 minutes, so it's not a lot of time you have to invest, although you could easily blow 2 hours looking at these damn videos. The artists usually do acoustic, due to tiny desk constraints, so that's a really cool aspect of this too. Some artists that primarily use electronics in their sound (LIKE UM, T-PAIN? So awesome he did one of these,) might be more inclined not to use their normal equipment just because of the small space and at this point, it's kind of gotten a reputation for being an acoustic space.
Basically, it's awesome. Watch a couple and you'll be hooked, waiting for the next one.