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As It Was: Blackstone Audio Grows from Living Room to Large Ashland Complex

Blackstone founder Craig Black and his wife, Michelle, started their audio book business in their living room in Medford, Ore., in 1987. They later moved to Ashland and enlisted Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors to narrate books on tape.

Before discovering his passion for audio books, Black had accumulated business experience and earned a master’s degree in business administration at Pepperdine University. The couple named their business “Blackstone” in honor of British jurist William Blackstone and also as a derivation of their own last name.

On its way to becoming the largest independent audio book company in the country, Blackstone was the first to employ the condensed MP3-CD format.  Blackstone offers its audio books through online retailers and from its own website and direct-to-consumer digital downloads. 

Blackstone Audio has grown from its original three employees to more than 140 located around the country. Producing a multiple-genre selection of audio books, the Blackstone complex on Mistletoe Road in Ashland houses two buildings with more than 40,000 square feet of office and warehouse space.

Still owned and run by its founders, the company has five in-house, state-of-the-art recording studios, and another one in Los Angeles.

Sources: Mann, Danielle L. " Blackstone Audio, Inc." The Oregon Encyclopedia.. Portland State University, Web. 17 Feb. 2014. : Wheeler, Sam. "Blackstone Audio: Back to the future." Mail-Tribune 24 Oct. 2014 [Medford, Ore.] . Web. 17 Feb. 2013. .

Dennis M. Powers was a business law attorney with various real estate and business ventures before teaching as a full professor and later professor emeritus at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado (b.a.), the University of Denver Law School (j.d.), and Harvard Business School (m.b.a.).