2012 SPARS Legacy Award

The 33 year history of SPARS is the history of the recording studio, music and professional recording evolution in America. The two cannot be separated. Those early pioneers of recording and sound founded SPARS and were some of the industry’s most committed supporters. There have been so many talented and dedicated professionals who were there when it all started and who were an integral part of the growth and success of the recording industry.

The SPARS Board of Directors is honored to establish the SPARS Legacy Award, which is given each year in recognition of the significant contributions of a past industry leader.

2012 SPARS Legacy Award
Christopher Stone

Chris Stone

The SPARS Board of Directors is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2012 SPARS Legacy Award, industry pioneer, recording icon and founder of the legendary Record Plant Studios, Christopher Stone.

Chris Stone Industry Visionary
Chris Stone is a successful music industry executive with a list of credits spanning over 30 years of hit records, films and outstanding music service businesses and professional associations. Stone was one of the original Co-Founders and former President and Chairman of the Board of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) from 1979 to 1989. He was also Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Music Producers Guild of the Americas (MPGA) from 1997 to 1999. The MPGA was a non-profit guild for leading audio engineers and music producers, which merged into The Recording Academy (NARAS) as The Producers and Engineers Wing.

Chris Stone Successful Studio Pioneer
In 1968, Stone co-founded with Gary Kellgren, the Record Plant Recording Studios, which during Stone’s successful tenure, provided audio recording services for many of the most revered artists in the music world. Legendary acts like the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the individual Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Guns & Roses, Whitney Houston, Billy Idol, Motley Cru, Prince, Chicago, Barbra Streisand and others were among the groups who recorded chart topping projects at the studio. Stone sold the facility to Chrysalis Records in 1989. Today the Record Plant continues the rich tradition established by Stone and is recognized as one of the leading audio recording facilities in the world.

Record Plant Opening in LA

Cake cutting celebration for the opening of Record Plant Los Angeles on December 4, 1969. Pictured: Tom Butler (Record Plant East Coast lawyer), Tom Wilson (RP client and partner, retained Frank Zappa and Bob Dylan and produced them, first black A&R person for Columbia Records), Ben Johnson (investor), Ancky Johnson (investor).

Stone also operated Record Plant Scoring, Inc., a film scoring and ADR stage at Paramount Pictures (Stage M) from 1983 to 1989, at which time it was returned to Paramount Pictures corporate operation.

Chris Stone Entrepreneur
In 1992, Stone founded and was CEO of World Studio Group, a company specializing in servicing many of the elite facilities of the recording industry. WSG facilitated scores of projects for a client roster of 30 of the premier recording studios in the US and around the world. In 1987, Chris Stone also founded Filmsonix Inc., a recording industry consulting firm, which globally provided advice and assistance to top record labels, pro audio hardware manufacturers and recording studios.

Chris Stone Consultant
After the sale of the Record Plant, Stone served as a reorganization consultant for Motown Records, L.P. His mission was to serve as acting Chief Operating Officer, changing policy and personnel as well as assisting in the hiring of a permanent COO. Since the conclusion of the Motown assignment, Stone has been retained extensively as a marketing and financial consultant to provide new diversification and marketing plans for both international and domestic premier audio recording facilities and professional audio equipment manufacturers.  As an example, he served as an operations consultant to “Jazz at Lincoln Center,” providing services for the integration of their newly constructed recording studios into their new facilities at Columbus Circle in New York City.

Record Plant Opening in LA

Producer and engineer Dan Wallin at Studio M, a soundstage at Paramount Pictures which was leased by the Record Plant to score, record and mix film music, circa 1980s.

Chris Stone has also been involved in many films as well as live events, including the Concert for Bangladesh, Flashdance, Star Trek, the Oscars, the Grammys, and the original Woodstock Festival. He was hired by A&M Records to serve as Associate Producer for Audio Productions for the Woodstock ‘94 project.

Chris Stone Author, Educator
In addition to his talents in production management and consulting, Chris Stone is a successful recording industry journalist. He has provided regular monthly columns on the business aspects of audio recording for Pro Sound News in the U.S., Sound On Sound Magazine in Europe and MIX magazine in the U.S.  Stone is a sought after lecturer. He has been recruited as a speaker and industry visionary, including the keynote address for a recent London based European conference for the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS). Stone was also tapped to provide the keynote address for the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Convention in San Francisco in October of 2008, during which time he presented his projections for the future of Professional Audio recording.

Record Plant Old and New Logos

Original logo at left and new logo (circa 1978) original Record Plant location on Third Street, Los Angeles, CA

Stone is also a successful author, having published the book “Audio Recording for Profit” (The Sound of Money) for Focal Press, a major trade publisher. The work is a guide to the marketing, promotion, management and financial requirements of global music and visual audio recording facilities today and in the future. Chris Stone is a member of the faculty at USC. Utilizing his book as a text, Stone has taught “The Business and Economics of the Audio Recording Industry” (MUIN 287). In addition to these academic endeavors, he teaches “Music Industry Entrepreneurship” at the online school of the Berklee College of Music in Boston (berkleemusic.com).

Chris Stone also serves as a music industry expert witness, equipment appraiser and business appraiser for the global professional audio industry. Prior to his music business career, Stone worked in marketing and sales at Revlon Corporation and Mattel, Inc. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of Euphonix Inc. and earned his MBA in marketing from UCLA.

Chris Stone in his office, second RP

Chris Stone’s office at later Record Plant location on Sycamore St., Los Angeles (circa 1986)

Chris Stone Pioneer and Legend
Christopher Stone is truly a legendary person and historic figure with regard tothe recording industry and the history of the recording studio movement in the US. SPARS congratulates Chris on his stellar career as we recognize him as the 2012 SPARS Legacy Award recipient.

RP LA Studio_A

Record Plant Sausalit0 Studio A


Record Plant NY

Stone and Group

Photograph taken at the Lingerie Club in Los Angeles in 1985, during the shooting of ROCK Commandos, a documentary. From left: Ray Manzarek, Mr. Bonzai, Chris Stone, Jeff Skunk Baxter. Previously published in Stone’s book, Audio Recording for Profit: The Sound of Money.

Invitation to Record Plant NY opening party

Record Plant LA Studio C

Original Record Plant LA Studio C

Gary Kellgren

Stone founded the Record Plant Studios with Gary Kellgren

Record Plant present

Record Plant as it looks today. The facility carries on Stone’s commitment to the recording craft

Additional links:

Chris Stone death article, Pro Sound News, September 12, 2016, by David Goggin

Chris Stone 2012 SPARS Legacy Presentation Video


Johnson, Heather (2006). “16 – The Record Plant: New Roots”. If These Halls Could Talk: A Historical Tour Through San Francisco Recording Studios. Thomson Course Technology. pp. 191–204. ISBN 1-59863-141-1. A copy of the Record Plant chapter is hosted online by the author as “The Record Plant: Magical Seeds”

About the SPARS Legacy Award:
The SPARS Legacy Award was established by the SPARS Board of Directors as an annual award to honor an industry luminary who historically has demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision and commitment to the recording studio movement in America and the professional recording craft in general.

Feel free to leave your comments for Chris below…

2 Responses to 2012 SPARS Legacy Award

  1. Dick Trump says:


    Congratulations on this well deserved honor. It is humbling to consider that I was able to serve SPARS with so many of the real icons of the recording industry like you. Best Wishes.

    Dick Trump
    Triad Studios
    Des Moines, IA

    • Chris Stone says:

      Hi Dick. Thanks for the kind words. I hope all is well with you and yours. So nice to see that Triad is still alive and obviously doing well. I hope to hear from you in the future now that we have made contact.

Comments are closed.