Coldplay, one of the world’s most renowned rock bands, is facing a legal battle initiated by their former manager, Dave Holmes. Holmes, who managed the band for over two decades, is suing Coldplay for more than £10 million (approximately $12 million) in unpaid commission. The lawsuit, filed in the U.K. High Court, shines a light on the dispute that led to the split between Holmes and the band.
At the heart of the legal battle is a contractual disagreement concerning Coldplay’s tenth and eleventh albums. According to Holmes’ lawsuit, the band had promised him a commission on these albums, but they allegedly reneged on this agreement. Coldplay received a substantial advance of £35 million (about $44 million) for their yet-to-be-released tenth album and an additional £30 million (around $38 million) for their eleventh and twelfth albums. Under his previous contract, which covered the band’s eighth and ninth albums, “Everyday Life” and “Music of the Spheres,” Holmes was entitled to receive between 8% and 13% in commission.
Holmes played a pivotal role in managing the logistical aspects of the albums, from budget preparation to organizing recording sessions in various locations such as London, Aspen, and Jamaica. He also collaborated with music producer Max Martin and handled licensing for samples used in the albums. Beyond album-related responsibilities, Holmes worked on coordinating Coldplay’s tours, including their tours in the United States, Australia, and Asia.
The lawsuit further claims that Coldplay not only failed to honor the extended contract but also attempted to demote Holmes from his managerial role to head of touring.
In his legal action, Holmes is seeking a declaration from the U.K. court affirming the validity of the contract covering the tenth and eleventh albums, along with an order for the payment of outstanding commission. Alternatively, he is pursuing damages or a reasonable charge for the work he has already completed on these records. Legal representatives for Holmes estimate the value of his claim at over £10 million ($12 million).
Documents associated with Holmes’ lawsuit have also revealed that Coldplay, in correspondence preceding the lawsuit, have threatened to file a “significant counterclaim” in response to any defense presented.
A representative for Coldplay issued a statement, stating that Holmes’ management contract with the band had expired at the end of 2022, and no new contract was initiated. The band‘s legal team is actively disputing the claims made by Holmes.
Phil Sherrell, who is representing Dave Holmes, emphasized Holmes’ significant role in managing Coldplay’s immense success over more than two decades. Sherrell stated that Holmes is now facing Coldplay’s refusal to honor his management contract and the compensation he is rightfully owed.