Paradigm Adds Kenny Chesney & Old Dominion to Roster Following Acquisition of Morris Higham's Booking Biz

Kenny Chesney
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Kenny Chesney performs in concert at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 24, 2018 in Foxborough, Mass.

Agreement includes Morris Higham Management partnership with the Sam Gores led talent agency

Paradigm has struck a deal with one of Nashville's preeminent music managers, adding Kenny Chesney, the highest-grossing country touring artist of all-time according to Billboard Boxscore, and fast-rising country music upstarts Old Dominion to the Paradigm roster.

Today (Nov. 26), Paradigm announced that it had acquired Dale Morris & Associates, the in-house booking business of Dale Morris and Clint Higham's firm Morris Higham Management. As part of the agreement, Paradigm is hiring agents Mike Betterton, who served as MHM v.p. and general manager, and Nate Ritches, who has worked with Morris and Higham since 2011. Both Betterton and Ritches will work from Paradigm's Nashville office led by Jonathan Levine and Jackie Nalpant. 

The common denominator in the deal is promoter Louis Messina, who promotes both Chesney and Paradigm clients Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes, while Messina's partners at AEG Presents are producing Old Dominion's 2019 arena and amphitheater tour.

Morris Higham Management was born out of Morris' management business first created in the 1980s to guide the career of Alabama, and the two managers have worked with acts like Martina McBride, Barbara Mandrell and Jake Owen. The agreement with Paradigm means current clients like Chesney and Old Dominion -- as well as Brandon LayRyan Griffin and Walker County -- will have access to new branding, digital and sync opportunities negotiated by Paradigm, Higham tells Billboard. 

"We've been approached by everyone, but it didn't feel right until we met Sam Gores and learned more about the company he built," Higham tells Billboard. "We've always focused on the integrity of building our artist's touring careers... the time had come to ensure our artists had more opportunities to expand their business."

Chesney is one of the top-grossing country artists of all time with his recent Trip Around the Sun Tour earning $114 million in sales over 42 shows. The 2018 stadium run was Chesney's highest grossing tour to date with his final shows at Gillette Stadium delivering a $11.6 million gross in front of 121,714 fans. The "No Shoes Nation" singer was ranked as the highest-grossing country music artist of the 2000s, and eighth overall behind Dave Mathews Band and Celine Dion. In total, Chesney has reported a cumulative $1 billion in ticket sales to Billboard Boxscore since he began touring in the mid-90s.

Morris said in a release that the Paradigm agreement continues his company's tradition of putting "artists and fans firsts" while Gores celebrated Morris and Higham as "independent pioneers who share our unwavering focus on the artists we represent and the art they create." 

Chesney and Old Dominion now join a growing Paradigm music roster that includes Kacey Musgraves, Ed Sheeran, Halsey, Coldplay, Janelle Monáe, Shawn Mendes, Phish, Margo Price, Tiësto, Lorde, Dave Matthews Band, Sturgill Simpson, The Lumineers and more.