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Interactive Annual 17:

NPR Music

Launch Live Site

“A good example of a clear and effective interface that doesn’t upstage the content.”
—Jared Benson

“One of the best iPhone apps for presenting the most important content in the fastest way possible. Music lovers will love this app.”
—Oscar Llarena

Overview: Offered by the same people who create the quality storytelling on NPR, this free download from the Apple App Store allows people to explore and engage with new music of all genres. As a new music guide, it goes beyond passive listening to encourage engagement and exploration, with content hand-picked by NPR Music tastemakers. Once a genre, program, series or artist is selected, users can swipe through multiple choices assessing just enough visual and text information to decide on their interest in a story and select from a group of clear navigation choices: read, listen or add to playlist. Users can listen to streams of entire albums before they’re released, read music news and reviews, hear songs of the day and live performances and read blog posts.

  • • The app includes an artist directory of over 5,000 artists, musicians and composers.
  • • Users can listen live to concerts in progress and to music streams from more than 75 public radio stations and the “All Songs 24/7” channel, a non-stop stream of every song ever played in ten years of the All Songs Considered show.
  • • Audio consumption per user is double that of any of NPR’s other digital products, including the NPR News iPhone App, the NPR for iPad App and

Comments by Scott Stroud

Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “Most listeners think of music on NPR as just the interludes between segments of a radio show or the classical music on their local station. We wanted to design an experience that would thrill and surprise all music lovers. Users can tap a button and be in the studio listening to an interview and intimate performance, listening to a new album in full before the release date or attending a live concert with a favorite band—even when they’re at the gym running on the treadmill.”

Did you learn anything new during the process? “Good design communication helps good product design make it past the whiteboard. High-profile projects always benefit when every team member fully understands the proposed interaction and navigation designs early in the project. Early momentum will happen whenever it can be clearly demonstrated how a concept will satisfy real user goals.”

How do you hope people use your design? “Neighborhood record stores are evaporating. We hope people will turn to our app in the same way they depended on the smart, aware friend who worked at the record store—the guy or the girl who introduced them to their next favorite thing.”


Scott Stroud, NPR Digital, user experience designer
Jennifer Sharp, NPR Digital, design director
Anna Christopher, NPR Communications/Danielle Deabler, NPR Communications/Paulo Lopez, NPR Digital/Kathie Miller, NPR Communications/Callie Neylan, NPR Digital/Jennifer Oh, NPR Mobile/Demian Perry, NPR Mobile/Dana Davis Rehm, NPR Communications/Robert Spier, NPR Mobile/David Wright, NPR Digital, design team
Kinsey Wilson, NPR Digital, chief creative officer
Ben Hands, NPR Digital/Daniel Jacobson, API and Bottle Rocket/Sarah Lumbard, NPR/Harold Neal, API and Bottle Rocket/Randall Randall, API and Bottle Rocket/Michael Yoch, NPR Digital, developers
Anya Grundmann, NPR Music, executive producer
Constance Miller, NPR, project manager
Matt Gallivan, NPR, researcher
Denise Leary, NPR/Greg Lewis, NPR/Michelle Shanahan, NPR/Joyce Slocum, NPR, consultants
Otis Hart, NPR Music/Amy Schriefer, NPR Music, quality assurance
NPR (Washington, DC), project design and development/client

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