Morris Management Group
In 1993, a rookie manager began handling a rookie artist, with both being mentored by veteran manager Dale Morris. Today, Kenny Chesney is the most successful touring act in country music. And the manager, Clint Higham, is president of Morris Management Group, among the elite in his field and affiliated with Front Line Management since 2009. Higham also brought Martina McBride into the fold (among others) and is getting serious traction with developing artist Jake Owen. Chesney has topped 1 million tickets sold for each of his last eight tours, with a box-office gross of nearly $600 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. But the strategic moves that Higham and Chesney (with promoter Louis Messina) made more than a decade earlier led to Higham being on this list. The basic rules: Keep Chesney's name on the ticket, price conservatively, don't get promoters killed, and always consider the long-term career. That career, of course, extends far beyond touring to include 20 No. 1s on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and 26.4 million albums sold in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Chesney's branding deals set the bar for the genre, his DVDs are pioneering, and the breadth of the career is ever-expanding. And so too is Higham's, who is now a big-league manager.
Order the special edition Billboard Power 100 issue, printed on glossy stock with lavish original photography (available now).
What do you think of the 2012 Billboard Power 100? Sound off in the comments area of the Letter From the Editor page, where the criteria is explained.