Coldplay hits back: Band launches £14m counterclaim against ex-manager after he sued for £10m in 'unpaid wages'

9 October 2023, 13:04 | Updated: 9 October 2023, 13:06

The band have filed a competing claim against their former manager.
The band have filed a competing claim against their former manager. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Coldplay has launched competing legal action against their ex-manager after he sued them for £10m during the summer, High Court documents have revealed.

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Coldplay has started the process of counter-suing their former manager, Dave Holmes, after his unprecedented legal action against them in August.

Mr Holmes worked as the band’s manager for 22 years before he was sacked in 2022.

In August he left the band stunned after he sought £10m in unpaid wages, as he claimed the British four-piece had “betrayed” him.

Now Coldplay, made up of Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion, have hit back at their ex-manager in their own counterclaim - seeking £14m in damages.

The four-piece is alleging that Mr Holmes is to blame for multi-million-pound mishaps and management failures during the band’s Music of the Spheres tour.

Court documents seen by The Times accuse Mr Holmes of “failing adequately to supervise and control the tour budget at all times”.

The band launched a counterclaim.
The band launched a counterclaim. Picture: Alamy

The band members have also claimed that Mr Holmes secured $30m in loans from Live Nation, a tour promotion and ticket company, without their knowledge.

“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,” the band said at their filing at the High Court in London.

These loans, the claim also read, would “potentially or actually conflict with his obligations to secure best possible terms for [Coldplay].”

They allege Mr Holmes had a “personal interest in maintaining the best possible relations with Live Nation in order to ensure he would have leverage in the event that he required any form of indulgence by reference to the loan terms.”

Responding to the claims, Live Nation said in a statement that it “has a strong and longstanding relationship with Coldplay”.

It continued: “Any past dealings with their management team were considered an extension of this relationship.”

The band has claimed that Mr Holmes’ alleged behaviour resulted in escalating costs during the tour.

Mr Holmes sued the band in August amid claims they dismissed him despite previously agreeing to extend his contract to help with their tenth and eleventh albums, which he said he had already helped them begin work on, according to legal filings.

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Coldplay have alleged Mr Holmes is responsible for financial mishaps on their Music of Spheres tour.
Coldplay have alleged Mr Holmes is responsible for financial mishaps on their Music of Spheres tour. Picture: Alamy

He also added that the band then claimed to have never extended his contract and refused to pay him for his work so far on the band’s unreleased tenth and eleventh albums.

“Holmes successfully managed Coldplay for more than 22 years, steering them to be one of the most successful bands in history. Now Coldplay is refusing to pay him what he is owed,” Phil Sherrell, Holmes’s lawyer, told Variety magazine.

A representative for Coldplay, however, said that Mr Holmes’ contract expired at the end of 2022, “at which point they decided not to start a new one”.

The band has rejected Mr Holmes’ claims against them “in its entirety”, as they said they decided not to extend his contract “following a period of increasing concern regarding Mr Holmes’s conduct”.

Responding to the news of Coldplay’s counterclaim, a spokesman for Mr Holmes said: “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”.

Is it now up to Mr Holmes to respond to the band’s counterclaim but the case could go to court if the parties do not settle.

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