First Step Records

Millikin’s first student-run venture, First Step Records is a recording label and publishing company. It supports and promotes the diverse, quality music of Millikin University and seeks to provide opportunities for students, faculty and alumni artists. It provides a meaningful, hands-on learning experience within the music industry for Millikin students, as well as establishes the reputation of the Millikin University music program to the wider community. 

Millikin University offers many great opportunities to further skills in the music industry through these great programs.

Blue Box Records & First Step Records

In its 15th year of production, First Step Records is a student-operated record label and publishing company providing hands-on experience in the business of music. Located at Millikin University, the label seeks to provide opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni artists.

During the 2016-17 academic year, First Step’s primary goal was to improve and deepen the students’ understanding of current industry best practices and company-specific procedures. With the planned departure of Matt Talbott, it became increasingly important to get as much experience and institutional knowledge secured with the junior students, with the intent that they would be able to help the new adviser in their role. While the group is very willing and excited to engage with the new adviser in the articulating of and pursuing of a new vision, it critical that as many students as possible were comfortable with the day-to-day operations of the company.

To that end, students rotated through a variety of activities including, but not limited to:

  • project management
  • purchasing of mechanical licenses
  • digital distribution of music
  • website improvements
  • customer service
  • fulfilling orders
  • updating online stores
  • assisting with company financials

These activities created accountability and helped to ensure as many returning students as possible were familiar with and had experience with our diverse set of procedures and practices. Our projects this year included the ever-popular Vespers, produced in both CD and digital/streaming format, and a new vocal jazz EP “Otono” for Professor of Music Dr. Stephen Widenhofer’s group One Voice, for which First Step Records provided digital distribution. The rest of the students’ work involved the ongoing maintenance and a distribution of First Step Records’ vast catalog and customer service. 

Our Mission

First Step is a student-run record label and publishing company that supports and promotes the diverse, quality music of Millikin University.

Our Vision

Our vision as a record label and publishing company is…

  • To establish the reputation of music at Millikin University to the wider community
  • To provide a meaningful learning experience within the music industry

Our Philosophy

We believe…

  • The product we produce exceeds industry standards.
  • That we are a commercial outlet for Millikin University’s established and emerging artists.
  • In the importance of creativity and innovation within our organization


MilliTrax Studio

Studio Pressure Night

First Step Records Website