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Coldplay countersue former manager for £14 million

Dave Holmes is accused of failing "adequately to supervise and control" the budget for the band's Music of the Spheres Tour

By James Hanley on 09 Oct 2023

Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams


Coldplay are counter-suing their former manager Dave Holmes for £14 million (€16.2m), according to a report.

It was revealed last month that Holmes is seeking more than £10 million (€11.7m) in allegedly unpaid commission in his lawsuit against the band.

Representatives for Holmes, who worked with the group for more than 20 years prior to being dismissed last year, say the band are “refusing to honour [his] management contract and pay him what he is owed”.  The group “vigorously disputed” the allegations and have now launched a counter-claim.

Court documents seen by The Times show that Holmes is accused of failing to “adequately to supervise and control” the budget for the band’s ongoing Music of The Spheres World Tour.

Among the claims are that Holmes ordered a $9.7m video screen – that was only used for 10 gigs and was too big to take on tour – and 16 bespoke stage pylons at a cost of €10.6m that turned out to be unusable.

“Had Mr Holmes exercised reasonable care and skill in the performance of his obligations, the band would not have incurred costs of at least £17.5 million,” it is alleged in the documents.

In addition, Coldplay allege that Holmes leveraged his position as manager to secure $30 million in loans from Live Nation, which they claim could have created a conflict of interest in tour negotiations.

Holmes is suing Coldplay in the UK High Court for breach of contract

“To the best of [our] knowledge… Mr Holmes used monies obtained by the loan agreements to fund a property development venture in or around Vancouver, Canada,” adds the band’s filing. “It is to be inferred that Mr Holmes was only able to acquire loans totalling $30 million at a fixed annual interest rate of 2.72% from Live Nation by virtue of his position as Coldplay’s manager.”

In a statement to The Times, Live Nation says that it “has a strong and longstanding relationship with Coldplay, adding that: “Any past dealings with their management team were considered an extension of this relationship.”

Holmes, who is suing Coldplay in the UK High Court for breach of contract, and the band began working together on two-album cycles from 2014, with his most recent deal, covering 2019’s Everyday Life and 2021’s Music of the Spheres.

He alleges that he began planning for the group’s next two albums – plus preparations for their 2024/25 tours – after his contract was extended to 2025. However, shortly afterwards, Coldplay claimed the deal had not yet been agreed to and that his previous agreement had ended.

The manager says he was then informed by the band’s solicitor that they wanted to change his role to ‘head of touring’ and limit his commission to just concerts. He alleges he was given two drafts of the new contract in August 2022, only for the band to later withdraw the offer and inform him through their solicitors that he was being dismissed.

A spokesperson for Holmes tells The Times: “Coldplay know they are in trouble with their defence. Accusing Dave Holmes of non-existent ethical lapses and other made-up misconduct will not deflect from the real issue at hand – Coldplay had a contract with Dave, they are refusing to honour it and they need to pay Dave what they owe him.”


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