After Paradigm Music Chief Chip Hooper's Death, Agency Moves Forward

John Von Pamer
Hooper, Diamond, Gores, Windish and Morris in 2015.

The company rebutts talk of a roster reduction and says it is "aggressively" looking ahead.

While the March 5 death of Paradigm Agency head of music Donald "Chip" Hooper "left a huge hole in our hearts," says founder/CEO Sam Gores, "he didn't leave us with a hole in our business in any respect." In fact, Gores says the ­expansion strategy that Hooper ­spearheaded will continue. "I think you'll see us go a little crazy," says Gores. "We're going to continue to grow very aggressively."

Hooper's death at 53 after a long battle with cancer was not ­unexpected. To ­prepare, more than a year ago Paradigm formed an executive ­committee comprising the chiefs of the agencies the company acquired in recent years. It includes AM Only founder Paul Morris, Coda partner Tom Schroeder, Little Big Man founder Marty Diamond, Monterey Peninsula Artists co-founder Dan Weiner and The Windish Agency's Tom Windish. The group, led by Paradigm COO Greg Bestick, reports to Gores.

Paradigm's Chip Hooper, Agent for Dave Matthews Band, Phish & More, Dies at 53

The committee reflects the semi­autonomous collaboration among offices and agents Hooper envisioned as he focused on blending personalities to build Paradigm into one of the most powerful agencies in music. The firm's music division now stands at 115 agents and more than 2,000 clients that ­include Dave Matthews Band and Phish (former Hooper acts now handled by Paul Morris, Mike Greisch and Dan Weiner at Monterey Peninsula), Coldplay, Ed Sheeran (in the United States and Canada), David Guetta and Skrillex.

"It wasn't like we leaned on him to run the thing and tell us what to do," says Windish, who joined forces with Paradigm in July 2015. "In my short time with him, what I really got was, 'You guys can do it. We've got great people here, we've got great acts, you have the winning ingredients.'"

The company's agents also dismiss rumors ­regarding a mass roster reduction or culling. "Any [roster] assessment is no different than any other agency," says Diamond. "Some [acts] become ­dormant, some break up. We have no interest in active culling -- that's not what we're about."

A reduction of the massive Windish roster, down to about 650 clients from as many as 850, began three years ago, says Windish. "Windish has traditionally had a lot of artists, and that was a big criticism of us," he says. "We stopped working with some acts that weren't playing many shows or that people didn't go to see -- and now it's funny; people use the fact that we have fewer artists against us. I guess they're always going to look for something."

Paradigm is "still very aggressively signing, and we're signing smarter," says Diamond, whose office has tours out with Coldplay, Sia and Shawn Mendes. "I'm proud of where the roster is right now."

This article was originally published in the April 30 issue of Billboard.