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Small Town Records: Keeping the Music Going During COVID-19

Three leaders of Duke's student-run record label, Small Town Records, learned how to innovate, adapt to digital platforms, and create new music opportunities during a pandemic summer.

Small Town Records (STR) is Duke’s only student-run full-service record label. STR signs several Duke student artists each year and works with students to do everything from producing their first recorded song to performing at major stages like the Apollo Theater in New York.

While Small Town Records is known for their in-person performances and live recording sessions—like other student arts organizations—they have turned to virtual platforms to redesign music engagement and community.

I interviewed three students on STR’s executive committee: Alexa Burnston ’22, executive vice president; Lauren May ’23, vice president of communications; and Ryan Briggs ’21, vice president of artist and repertorie. Each offered a different perspective on how STR has adapted and what the future of student music programming on campus holds.