Coldplay sues ex-manager for tour mismanagement including ‘not opening Dropbox’

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Coldplay has filed a multi-million pound lawsuit against their former longtime manager Dave Holmes alleging tour mismanagement – just weeks after he sued the band for £10m in “unpaid commission”.

In August, Holmes – who managed the band from 2005 until 2022 – initiated proceedings against lead singer Chris Martin, drummer Will Champion, bassist Guy Berryman, and guitarist Jonny Buckland.

He claimed he was owed £10m in commission for his work relating to Coldplay’s as-yet-unreleased 10th and 11th studio albums.

Denying Holmes’ claim, the British rock band counter-sued their ex-manager last week, alleging significant losses incurred due to his mismanagement of their Music of the Spheres tour. Coldplay is seeking £14m in damages.

According to court documents obtained by The Times, Holmes owed millions of dollars in debt to Live Nation – the American entertainment company that promotes the band’s tours – while he was negotiating terms for their Music of the Spheres tour in 2021.

“That would potentially or actually conflict with his obligations to secure best possible terms for [Coldplay],” the band’s lawsuit read, adding the $30m-loan was used to fund a property development venture in Canada “to the best of [our] knowledge”.

Further, Coldplay alleged Holmes “failed adequately to supervise and control” the budget of the 165-stop tour, with the band forced to cover costs for expensive or ultimately unusable equipment.

Examples include “16 bespoke stage pylons” that cost €10.6m to make – but were never used – as well as a £9.7m-visual projector called the Jet Screen that was allegedly built to the wrong dimensions and could only be used for 10 shows.

In total, Coldplay estimated these sunk costs at around £17.5m.

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin


Finally, the band said Holmes did not open a shared Dropbox containing art work for the tour “at any time between August 2020 and February 2022”.

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Responding to the band’s lawsuit, a spokesperson for Holmes told the newspaper: “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”.

The Independent has contacted Holmes’ representatives for comment.

In his lawsuit, obtained by Billboard, Holmes said he organised recording sessions, samples, and string arrangements for the band’s 10th and 11th studio albums, which have not yet been released. He also claimed he is owed commission for advances toward Coldplay’s forthcoming albums, including £35m paid by Warner Group-owned Parlophone Records for their 10th record.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Holmes’ lawyer Phil Sherrell said: “Dave Holmes successfully managed Coldplay for more than 22 years, steering them to be one of the most successful bands in music history. Now, as the legal case shows, Coldplay is refusing to honor Dave’s management contract and pay him what he is owed,”

As per their legal filing, Coldplay denied Holmes’ claim “in its entirety”, adding that their last contract with his company only covered albums eight (Everyday Life) and nine (Music of the Spheres). The agreement with Holmes was then terminated “following a period of increasing concern regarding Mr Holmes’s conduct”, the filing read.

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