First Step Records

CD's arranged on a ledge

First Step Records Logo


First Step Records is a student-run record label and publishing company that supports and promotes the diverse quality music at Millikin University and beyond. Its vision is to define and demonstrate a philosophy of artistic achievement, music business acumen, and entrepreneurship to a wider community, while providing a meaningful learning experience within the music industry curriculum at Millikin

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First Step Records is a student-operated record label and publishing company providing hands-on experience in the business of music. Created in 1998, First Step Records continues to provide opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni artists. In its latest generational phase, First Step and Millitrax Recording Studios are reimagining themselves as more than just a regional entity.

Martin Atkins teaching

First Step has been re-tooled to work on campus as well as reach out over a five-hundred-mile radius to artists in all genres creating opportunities for exposure, development, and cross-pollination with other business. Led by music industry author and practitioner, Martin Atkins, students get hands on experience dealing with artists, social media, legal and publishing issues, digital distribution, event creation, management, and marketing. Each day in and outside of the classroom the students stretch themselves in their chosen area of business while giving back to the community through music.   

Services: First Step Records handles the production and distribution of the annual Vespers CD. This process allows students to have hands on experiences with mechanical licensing, publishing, copying CDs, and marketing the album, as well as providing a finished product for patrons to enjoy.  First Step has also worked with students and faculty members to release their work. Some of our past artists include Karoline Czieczak, Dari, Jake Pearson, Millikin’s Latin Jazz Project, and One Voice.

In 2018, a compilation album featuring 42 artists including Millikin students and alumni
and bands from across the globe. Fifty percent of proceeds go to Hope for the Day, a nonprofit
which works to support suicide prevention and awareness, and who partnered with First Step
Records to create the album.

For more information about First Step Records: